Saving slender lorises in Sri Lanka

Red slender loris

Many loris species are in dire straits, and ZSL is working hard to protect the remaining populations. Since 2008, ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme has been engaged in a collaborative project to bring conservation focus to this sub-species and its remaining habitat, involving the first detailed surveys of the animal and habitat regeneration. ZSL’s EDGE programme has been running reforestation campaigns to create corridors between remaining loris habitats. This will help to protect several species on the brink of extinction, such as the plains slender loris.

Why we are there

The Red Slender loris is on the brink of extinction and is a focal point of ZSL’s work in Sri Lanka. There are two subspecies, and the habitats of both are rapidly being lost and fragmented due to agricultural development and firewood collection. The Western red slender loris (Loris tardigradus tardigradus) inhabits wet lowland habitats and only about 1500 individuals remain. The montane or Horton Plains slender loris (L. t. nycticeboides) is in an even worse state, and was thought extinct since its last sighting in 1937. In 2009, however, ZSL EDGE fellows were lucky enough to sight these animals on a field trip in the humid montane forests of the Horton Plains, and only about 80 montane slender lorises are estimated to exist.

Project information

Key species

Red slender loris Loris tardigardus

Lorises are small nocturnal animals that inhabit the forests of India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia, and feed primarily on insects. 

People involved

Carly Waterman runs ZSL’s EDGE of existence programme

Parners and sponsors

Open University of Sri Lanka

University of Colombo

Funded by: Darwin Initiative; IUCN Save Our Species; BBC Wildlife Fund; Synchronicity Foundation; Fauna and Flora international; Nando Peretti Foundation; Van Tienhoven Foundation for International Nature Protection