Bristol Zoo Gardens

Breeding success in a captive born generation of pygmy slow loris

Bristol Zoo Gardens - 6th Oct, 2020

Pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list and have a small captive population size with EEP recommendations to increase its numbers.

Due to their elusive nature, nocturnal primates including loris, are often under-researched. Less information is readily available on how to care for them in captivity, often because exact requirements are not fully understood. For example, pygmy slow loris sexually mature at 12-18 months and breed yearly in the wild, but this is rarely seen in captivity. Population trends suggest that captive bred pygmy slow loris are less likely to breed than wild born individuals which poses a threat to the future of the EEP population.

Bristol Zoo Gardens (BZG) has housed captive bred individual Holly since 2012 who had never bred. BZG’s keepers have spent 5.5 years changing conditions to promote breeding including: diet, enclosure design, humidity, temperature, lighting, breeding partners and mixing strategies. In 2018 they attained a conservation grant to cover the costs of cameras and a seasonal lighting system. This project covers the details which led to successful breeding of this female loris and how the extra measures taken ensured that first time dam successfully reared twins after initially rejecting them both. The impact of disseminating this project has important benefits to other pygmy slow loris holders with real step by step measures of how to improve breeding success in pygmy slow lorises in captivity.    

Bristol Zoo Gardens submitted this project to the BIAZA Awards Animal Husbandry, Care & Breeding category for 2020 and won a Bronze award.

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