ESR 23:197-204 (2014)  -  DOI:

Pygmy slow loris Nycticebus pygmaeus-natural diet replication in captivity

F. Cabana*, A. Plowman

Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Totnes Road, Paignton, Devon TQ4 7EU, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In captivity, the pygmy slow loris Nycticebus pygmaeus population worldwide suffers from poor reproduction, dental diseases, facial abscesses and various other health problems which, cumulatively, mean that the population is far from self-sustaining. The diet recommendations are anecdotal at best, and improvements are urgently needed for this vulnerable species. New evidence suggests that wild N. pygmaeus are primarily exudativores, and consume nectar and gum daily from a variety of tropical plant species, along with a large variety of insects. The typical diet in captivity contains fruit, a concentrated pellet, some insects and occasionally gum as enrichment. Our aims were to compare the behavioural activity budget of 1 male N. pygmaeus at Paignton Zoo on his original diet, on the same diet with added nectar and on an evidence-based naturalistic diet of mainly gum and nectar. We also investigated the nutrient intake of 2 males when given these diets. Behavioural observations were made overnight using night-vision cameras for 15, 10 and 11 d for each diet, respectively. Abnormal (generalised linear mixed model, GLMM χ2(1,2) = 8.673, p = 0.013), travelling (GLMM χ2(1,2) = 6.107, p = 0.047) and feeding (GLMM χ2(1,2) = 79.679, p = 0.0001) behaviours all varied significantly between diets. In the behavioural study, the addition of gum, nectar and insects and the removal of fruit expanded and diversified the loris’ activity budget and reduced the extent to which abnormal behaviour patterns were displayed. The intake study showed that both lorises consumed more when fed the naturalistic diet, suggesting they found it more palatable. Evidence of diet change suggests that a naturalistic approach to feeding N. pygmaeus enhances its welfare.

KEY WORDS: Loris · Diets · Evidence-based husbandry · Gum · Nectar · Exudativore

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Cite this article as: Cabana F, Plowman A (2014) Pygmy slow loris Nycticebus pygmaeus-natural diet replication in captivity. Endang Species Res 23:197-204.

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