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Slow loris


CITES: Appendix I (What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: N. javanicus: EN; N. bengalensis, N. pygmaeus, N. coucang coucang, N. coucang menagensis: VU (What is Red List?)
Key: EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable, VU = Vulnerable, VU = Vulnerable, VU = Vulnerable
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)

N. coucang
Nycticebus coucang
Photo: Marilyn Cole


Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation

Slow lorises are also particularly susceptible to habitat fragmentation and the felling of feed and sleeping trees causes habitat degradation and increased contact with people (Choudhury 2001; Medhi et al. 2004). In India, for example, habitat destruction is the worst threat to slow lorises (Choudhury 1992). Jhum cultivation (slash-and-burn cultivation) is also a significant habitat threat in India, as is tea cultivation and other agricultural land use (Choudhury 1992; Medhi et al. 2004). Often human settlements follow these types of land use, inhibiting secondary growth (Medhi et al. 2004). Other reasons for habitat descrution include monoculture, logging, fuel-wood extraction, land use for paper production, and the construction of infrastructure (Choudhury 1992). In China, habitat destruction is also the biggest threat to resident slow lorises and suitable areas are often destroyed for cash crops such as rubber, sugarcane, and coffee growing (Lan 1999).

Threat: Invasive Alien Species

Due to importation of slow lorises from some areas of their range to others, sometimes non-local species of slow loris (that are not properly identified) are introduced or released if confiscated into habitats in which they are not native, potentially altering the ecology of native species of slow loris (Schulze & Groves 2004).

Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)

Over large areas of their range, slow lorises are collected as pets and for illegal folk medicine. They are one of the most commonly traded protected primates in southeast Asia (Schulze & Groves 2004; Nekaris & Jaffe 2007). In some areas, they are also hunted for meat (Radhakrishna et al. 2006). However, due to their diminutive size, N. pygmaeus are not hunted intensely, but they are probably still sold in markets in Vietnam and even exported (Duckworth 1994; Fitch-Snyder & Thanh 2002). Animals are often exported from their countries of origin for medicinal uses and very often end up in China, but illegal export to Taiwan has also been recorded (Phipps 1992; Fitch-Snyder & Thanh 2002). Even if the lorises are not desired locally, they are often collected in neighboring areas and imported (Schulze & Groves 2004). In China, slow lorises are eaten, the bones are used for medicinal uses, and the fur for local hunting bags (Lan 1999). The illegal trade in the species is further evidenced by slow lorises being found for sale in Indonesian and Cambodian markets. In some areas, the trade is so intense that devoted animal rescue centers are overwhelmed (Malone et al. 2002; Streicher et al. 2002; Nekaris & Jaffe 2007). In Vietnam, collection for medicinal purposes results in captured animals being dried or placed in rice wine (Streicher et al. 2002). Some groups across the broad slow loris range believe that the collection of a loris eyeball may help the person's eyesight (Medhi et al. 2004). Adding to the threat of their removal from their habitats, slow lorises very often die from the stress of being held captive (Streicher 2004).

Threat: Accidental Mortality

While trying to cross roads, slow lorises are sometimes hit and killed by automobile traffic (Radhakrishna et al. 2006).

Threat: Human Disturbance

In some protected areas of India, armed insurgent groups are present. Such groups may hunt slow lorises, but also discourage the patrols of forest guards, and thus reduce protection afforded to slow lorises (Radhakrishna et al. 2006). Further, recent wars in Indochina have significantly altered or destroyed slow loris habitats (Lan 1999).





Content last modified: March 18, 2009

Written by Kurt Gron. Reviewed by Helena Fitch-Snyder.

Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2009 March 18. Primate Factsheets: Slow loris (Nycticebus) Conservation . <>. Accessed 2020 July 6.