Slender Loris a small, nocturnal primate a genus of Loris, commonly found in the tropical scrub and deciduous forests as well as the dense hedgerow plantations bordering farmlands of Southern India and Sri Lanka.
Habitat and Feeding Behavior
It prefers to inhabit thick, thorny bushes and bamboo clumps where it can evade predators and also find insects, which is the main diet. Slender lorises are about 25 cm long and have long, thin arms. Their most prominent feature is the pair of two large, closely set, brown eyes.
Being arboreal, they spend most of their life on the trees. Though their movements are slow, they can climb up fast to the tree top when threatened. They either hunt on their own or in pairs. They are known to be very social at dusk and dawn, interacting with others of their own.
Apart from insects they are also known to eat leaves, flowers, slugs and sometimes eggs of birds. To maximize protein and nutrient uptake they consume every part of their prey, including the scales and bones. They make nests out of leaves or find hollows of trees or a similar secure place to live in.
Reproduction and Breeding Habits
Their mating season is twice a year, from April to May as well as October to November. The females give birth to normally one and rarely two infants at one time. The mother carries the infants constantly during the first few weeks after birth. The species have lifespans of 15 years and are nocturnal.
Slender Loris – Thattekkad
Slender Loris – Loris
Photos: Anoop Santhakumar
These animals face a threat from poachers due to the misplaced belief that these animals have magical and medicinal powers. This hunting, along with destruction of their habitat, is their major threat. There are no confirmed numbers on how many slender lorises survive in the wild. They are one of the least studied of all primates in India.
IUCN has listed them as Endangered, whereas they are listed under the Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, according them the highest level of legal protection. WWF-India is working to protect the habitats of the Slender Loris through its wider conservation work in the Western Ghats – Nilgiris Landscape.