Loris – Slender lorises

Spend most of their time on trees, moving along the tops of branches with precise and slow movements

Slender lorises are small, nocturnal primates distinguished by their delicate limbs and large, expressive eyes, which illuminate their adaptability to life in the dark. The genus encompasses two main species: the red slender loris (Loris tardigradus), found exclusively in Sri Lanka, and the grey slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus), which extends its range into parts of India. These elusive creatures have captivated the interest of researchers and conservationists alike due to their unique behavioral traits and the increasing threats they face from human activities.

Slender lorises inhabit a variety of forest ecosystems, including scrub forests, tropical rainforests, swamps, and semi-deciduous forests. Their presence across such diverse habitats highlights their adaptability and the crucial role they play in maintaining ecological balance. Adapted to an arboreal lifestyle, slender lorises possess remarkable grip strength, enabling them to grasp branches securely as they navigate the canopy in search of food. Their large, forward-facing eyes provide them with excellent night vision, essential for spotting prey under the cover of darkness.

The diet of slender lorises is varied and includes reptiles, insects, fruits, and plants. They are opportunistic feeders, utilizing their keen sense of sight and smell to locate food. Their slow and deliberate movements allow them to approach prey stealthily, minimizing the chances of detection. In addition to providing them with necessary nutrients, their feeding habits also contribute to the control of insect populations and the dispersal of seeds, underscoring their importance within their ecosystems.

Despite their ecological significance, slender lorises face numerous threats that jeopardize their survival. Poaching for traditional medicine and the illegal pet trade has led to significant declines in their populations. The exotic pet trade, in particular, has fueled a demand for these primates, leading to their capture and smuggling across borders.