July 23, 2010

Not Gone Yet: Horton Plains Slender Loris Rediscovered

 © C Mahanayakage

The Horton Plains slender loris (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides) was thought to have gone extinct in 1939 when its Sri Lanka forest habitat was clear-cut to make way for tea plantations.

The Zoological Society of London lead as expedition to find the animal after a 2002 encounter. Their research included 1,000 nocturnal surveys in 120 forest areas.  ZSL was able to both photograph and measure the loris who is 20 centimeters long.

The Horton Plains slender loris remains incredibly rare. Researches estimate that 60 -100 individuals remain. While not extinct, this loris remains one of the most endangered primates.

ZSL conservation biologist Craig Turner listed conservation and restoration of the remaining montane forest, which makes up less than 1% of the land area of Sri Lanka, as key to the species' survival.

Read more about the rediscovery here.

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