The Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to some pretty amazing creatures, especially the unique prosimians housed in the building's nocturnal wing.
One of the exhibits is home to Pygmy Slow Lorises, and one of the newest residents is a baby weighing just 130 grams. The baby loris, whose gender has yet to be determined, was born on May 18 to mom Tevy (12), and dad Tai (9).
"Having a baby Pygmy Slow Loris is a pretty significant occurrence," said Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. "There are only 21 AZA accredited facilities in the entire U.S. where this type of loris can be seen on exhibit. We're extremely proud of our zoological programs staff for the care they give these rare animals. This is our seventh successful Pygmy Slow Loris birth since 1998."
The mother has been in Cleveland since 2013, and the father arrived in 2011. The baby brings the Zoo's number of Pygmy Slow Lorises up to six.
The Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) is a member of the prosimian family, which are generally small, mostly nocturnal primates that are not quite monkeys or apes. This family also includes: lemurs, tarsiers, pottos and the aye-aye. Pygmy Slow Lorises are native to the forests and bamboo groves of Southeast Asia, including Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Adults can grow up to 8 inches long and weigh only 12 ounces.
The Pygmy Slow Loris is classified as "Vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Zoo participates in the Pygmy Slow Loris Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Species Survival Plans are cooperative breeding and management groups for endangered or threatened species. SSPs identify population management goals and make recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically varied population. The new loris baby is a very significant birth as there are only 61 Pygmy Slow Lorises in North American zoos.
All eight species of Slow Loris are threatened by exploitation for the pet and tourist photo prop trades, traditional medicine, and habitat loss. In partnership with field conservation partner Dr. Anna Nekaris and the Little Fireface Project, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo protects Slow Lorises by studying their ecology to inform conservation measures and conducting education and awareness program aimed at addressing the trade in Slow Lorises.