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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 28:87-95 (2015)  -  DOI:

Conservation and ecology of the neglected slow loris: priorities and prospects

K. A. I. Nekaris1, Carly R. Starr2,*

1Oxford Brookes University, Nocturnal Primate Research Group, School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
2Northern Gulf Resource Management Group, Mareeba, Queensland 4880, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Slow lorises Nycticebus spp. have one of the widest distributions of any nocturnal primate species, occurring in 14 Asian countries; yet, in terms of their taxonomy, ecology and distribution, they remain amongst the least known of any primate taxa. Eight species are now recognised; 5 of these have been listed in the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable or Critically Endangered, with 3 Not Assessed. Threats to these primates not only include habitat loss, but the illegal wildlife trade. Slow lorises are highly desired in traditional medicines, and as pets both nationally and internationally. In this Theme Section, we bring together 13 studies on several key topics. We present survey data from the Indonesian island of Java, from Malaysian Sabah on the island of Borneo, from northeast India and from Singapore. All of these studies concur that slow lorises occur at low abundance, but that, where they are left alone, they can also persist in anthropogenically modified habitats. We present novel data on the feeding ecology of slow lorises, reifying that these primates are obligate exudativores. Such data are vital for keeping lorises in captivity; in 3 studies, an exudate-based diet is shown to improve health and reduce behavioural abnormalities. We show that local knowledge can provide vital data regarding slow loris distribution and in helping with conservation programmes for these taxa. The illegal trade for slow lorises is consistently brought up as a threat, and another contribution shows that a similar trend is also occurring with their phylogenetic relatives in Africa, the pottos. We highlight several areas where more research is needed and provide suggestions to fill those gaps.

KEY WORDS: Primate conservation · Nycticebus · Perodicticus · Arctocebus · Loris · Illegal wildlife trade · Census techniques · Ethnozoology

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Cite this article as: Nekaris KAI, Starr CR (2015) Conservation and ecology of the neglected slow loris: priorities and prospects. Endang Species Res 28:87-95.

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