MOTANE SLENDER LORIS (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides) IS A CRITICALLY ENDANGERED PRIMATE THAT NEEDS MORE CONSERVATION ATTENTION

S.N. GAMAGE, U.K.G.K. PADMALAL, S.W. KOTAGAMA

Abstract


The primates of Sri Lanka are represented by five species, out of which three are endemic to Sri Lanka. This includes two species of slender lorises, Loris tardigradus and Loris lydekkerianus of which the former is endemic to Sri Lanka. The endemic red slender loris Loris tardigradus, represented by two subspecies (L. t. tardigradus and L. t. nycticeboides), is ranked among the top ten globally threatened primate species. However, very little attention has been given to study this species in the past. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to document their distribution, the threats they face, their conservation status and management needs through a occupancy monitoring programme across 160 sites located in the Wet, Intermediate and Dry Zones of Sri Lanka over a period of two years. A distribution map of the red slender loris has been compiled based on the results of this study. The initial results indicate that size of the forest, forest seral status, protection status of the forest, arboreal connectivity of the forest and fragmentation have affected the slender loris site occupancy. Rediscovery and the first physical examination of the Montane slender loris (L. t. nycticeboides) are among the key outcomes of this study. The Montane slender loris was recorded from several remaining montane forest patches between 1600-2100m in Nuwara-Eliya. Thus, available natural vegetation for the Montane slender loris is less than 3500 ha which exist as five forest fragments. The estimated population size is less than 60-100 mature individuals. This study further reveals that the few remaining habitats of Montane slender loris are under a great deal of pressure due to forest dieback, encroachment by invasive alien species and firewood collection by the local people. Therefore, Montane slender loris should be listed as a Critically Endangered species. A pilot montane forests restoration progamme at Hakgala SNR is an effort to enhance the carrying capacity for Montane red slender loris.

 

KEY WORDS: Montane slender loris, Primates,


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References


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