Twin pygmy slow loris, born at Paignton Zoo, Devon in February, have become much easier for visitors to spot this month as they venture out and about with parents and experienced breeding pair Charlie and Edna.
Weighing in at just 25/30 grams when born, the tiny youngsters join a larger than average collection of pygmy slow loris at the zoo, which total 8 animals at present.
With a name that derives from the old Dutch word for clown, the loris have a comical and endearing appearance which has led them to become victims of the illegal pet trade. However, their toxic bite and strong odour make them a very bad choice to have around the house.
Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment said: “We are part of the European Endangered species Programme for pygmy slow loris. An EEP is the most intensive type of population management and includes data collection, genetic analysis and plans for the future management of the species.”
The pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) is classified as vunerable by the IUCN Red List, which means that it is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. This small nocturnal primate comes from the forests of South East Asia, where it lives on a diet of insects, fruit, slugs and snails.
The Vietnam War nearly wiped out this species of loris as forests were burned or defoliated. The destruction of forests continues today due to agriculture and development, with the pet trade another serious threat.
For more information visit www.paigntonzoo.org.uk