Nycticebus pygmaeus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA PRIMATES LORISIDAE

Scientific Name: Nycticebus pygmaeus
Species Authority: Bonhote, 1907
Common Name(s):
English Pygmy Slow Loris, Pygmy Loris, Lesser Slow Loris
Synonym(s):
Nycticebus intermedius Dao Van Tien, 1960
Taxonomic Notes: The form intermedius is here considered a synonym of N. pygmaeus. There is no evidence of hybridization, either in the wild or in museum specimens, between N. bengalensis and N. pygmaeus from localities where the two are sympatric.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Streicher, U., Ngoc Thanh,V., Nadler,T., Timmins, R.J. & Nekaris, A.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Justification:
Nycticebus pygmaeus is listed as Vulnerable as the species is believed to have undergone a decline of more than 30% over the last three generations (24 years, given a generation length of 8 years) due primarily to hunting, but also as a result of habitat loss. This species may warrant listing in a higher category of threat if it subsequently shown that the rate of decline is on the order of 50%.
History:
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found east of the Mekong River in eastern Cambodia, southernmost China (southeastern Yunnan), Lao PDR, and Viet Nam (Streicher 2004). The western limit of distribution in Lao PDR and Cambodia is uncertain, but it appears to be absent or at least naturally very scarce in the extreme west of the Mekong plain. In China, the species has only been recorded in southeast Yunnan, although it is not clear if these are wild animals or captured animals brought into China from Viet Nam (MacKinnon 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Viet Nam
Present - origin uncertain:
China
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Ratajszczak (1998) mentioned that hundreds of this species were being traded in markets, but based on the smaller numbers of pygmy lorises now found in Viet Namese markets, as well as the increased difficulty noted in making field encounters, researchers have concluded that wild populations are probably in major decline (Fitch-Snyder and Vu 2002; Streicher 2004). In Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, 90 survey nights returned only seven sightings of this species; in Ben En National Park, only eight animals were encountered over ten night walks by four teams, each covering several kilometers per night. In Lao PDR, Duckworth (1994) recorded only four individuals during a survey in Phou Xang He protected area (about 0.05-0.10 individuals/km). It is possible that this species was under-recorded, however, as villagers claimed that this species was common throughout the area, and their accounts may also be historical (Duckworth 1994). The species is widespread in forested areas in Lao PDR, where exploitation of lorises is lower than in neighboring Viet Nam.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species has been sighted in a wide variety of habitats, including primary evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, forest on limestone, secondary and highly degraded habitats, and bamboo thickets (Ratajszczak 1998; Streicher 2004). It is found up to 1,500 m (MacKinnon and MacKinnon 1987).

Nycticebus pygmaeus is nocturnal and forages alone. Its feeding habits have not been well studied in the wild, but it is known that the species is omnivorous in natural conditions. A study of released pygmy loris food choices showed insectivory 40% of the time, gummivory 30% of the time, and feeding on unidentified plant exudates the rest of the time. Flowering trees are most attractive to these animals (Streicher 2004). This species appears to be more insectivorous than Nycticebus coucang, which may explain its ability to survive better in secondary habitat that lack big fruiting trees (Ratajszczak 1998). They may also take geckos, small arboreal mammals, eggs, and chicks (Ratajszczak 1998). This species appears to be a seasonal breeder, giving birth in the winter months (Ratajszczak 1998).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Viet Nam, the pygmy slow loris is heavily exploited for traditional “medicine” as well as for the pet trade (Nekaris and Nijman 2007), including international trade, at levels that are not sustainable; it is also used as a food source by many (Streicher 2004). Some hunting involves the use of elaborate traps, as well as snares. In Cambodia, it is generally used for so-called “medicinal” purposes. Levels of exploitation in Lao PDR are significantly lower. Habitat loss, due to agriculture (cashew plantations, corn, rice paddies and so forth), and human settlement, may be resulting in localized declines.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Viet Nam this species is protected at the highest possible level (Appendix IB, Decree 32, 2006); in China, it is listed as Class 1 protected (involving potentially severe penalties); and in Cambodia it is listed on the Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries Species List as prohibited to hunt from 08 January 1994. The species has been recently transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I of CITES (Nekaris and Nijman 2007). There is a need for close monitoring of harvesting rates of this species, not only in Viet Nam, but also in Cambodia and Lao PDR where rates of take could increase in future.
Pygmy lorises are represented in at least 50 captive collections, and reported in at least two-dozen protected areas, but these reports need to be ground-sourced with systematic surveys (Nekaris et al. 2008).

Bibliography [top]

Duckworth, J. W. 1994. Field sighting of the pygmy loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) in Laos. Folia Primatologica 63(2): 99-101.

Fitch-Snyder, H. and Thanh, V. N. 2002. A preliminary survey of lorises (Nycticebus spp.) in northern Vietnam. Asian Primates 8(1-2): 1-3.

Groves, C. P. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

MacKinnon, J. 2008. Order Primates. In: A. T. Smith and Y. Xie (eds), The Mammals of China, pp. 158. Princeton University Press.

MacKinnon, J. and MacKinnon, K. 1987. Conservation and status of the primates of the Indo-Chinese subregion. Primate Conservation 8: 187-195.

Nekaris, K.A.I. and Nijman, V. 2007. CITES proposal highlights rarity of asian nocturnal primates (Lorisidae: Nycticebus). Folia Primatologica 78: 211-214.

Nekaris, K.A.I., Blackham, G.V. and Nijman, V. 2008. Conservation implications of low encounter rates of five nocturnal primate species (Nycticebus spp.) in Asia. Biodversity and Conservation 17(4): 733-747.

Ratajszczak, R. 1998. Taxonomy, distribution and status of the lesser slow loris Nycticebus pygmaeus and their implications for captive management. Folia Primatologica 69: 171-174.

Streicher, U. 2004. Aspects of the ecology and conservation of the pygmy loris Nycticebus pygmaeus in Vietnam. Inaugural-Dissertation, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität.


Citation: Streicher, U., Ngoc Thanh,V., Nadler,T., Timmins, R.J. & Nekaris, A. 2008. Nycticebus pygmaeus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 September 2014.
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