|Researchers snapped the Horton Plains slender loris, long feared extinct, in Sri Lanka’s central forests late last year. (Dulan Vidanapathirana/ Zoological Society of London via Associated Press)|
Endangered primate caught on camera
GALLE, Sri Lanka — A nocturnal, forest-dwelling primate with orblike eyes and short limbs was photographed in central Sri Lanka late last year after being feared extinct, researchers said yesterday.
A Horton Plains slender loris was caught on camera after lengthy surveys of the forest by researchers from the Zoological Society of London, the University of Colombo, and the Open University of Sri Lanka.
Team leader Saman Gamage said the mammal was not sighted for more than 60 years until a researcher reported spotting its eyes in 2002 during a search — inspiring the effort to view it fully and photograph it to prove the primate existed.
“We are thrilled to have captured the first-ever photographs and prove its continued existence,’’ said Craig Turner, a conservation biologist with the Zoological Society.
The primate’s population is thought to have begun dwindling in the mountain forest habitat after British colonial rulers from the 19th century cleared large tracts of forest for coffee and tea plantations, Gamage said.
Logging, agriculture, and development made it hard for the lorises to find food, escape threats, or meet mates.