A survey of husbandry practices for lorisid primates in North American zoos and related facilities

Zoo Biol. Jan-Feb 2013;32(1):88-100. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21049. Epub 2012 Nov 15.


Zoos and related facilities in North America currently manage five species in the primate family Lorisidae: the greater (Nycticebus coucang), Bengal (N. bengalensis) and pygmy (N. pygmaeus) slow lorises, red slender loris (Loris tardigradus), and potto (Perodicticus potto). We used an online survey to describe institutional housing and husbandry practices for these species and assess the extent to which practices are consistent with established guidelines. Our results show that most captive lorisids are housed solitarily or in pairs. Most individuals occupy a single exhibit space in a building dedicated to nocturnal animals. Facilities are commonly meeting recommendations for abiotic exhibit design and are providing animals with an enriched environment. However, pottos and slender lorises currently occupy exhibit spaces smaller than the recommended minimum, and the impact of cleaning protocols on olfactory communication should be critically evaluated. Few facilities are taking advantage of the benefits of positive reinforcement training for promoting animal welfare. Research is greatly needed on the effects of exhibit lighting on behavior, health, and reproduction; and to determine how best to manage the social needs of lorisids with naturally dispersed social structures. Although captive populations of slender lorises, pottos, and slow lorises are declining, we suggest that improved husbandry knowledge has the potential to positively influence population sustainability and to enhance future efforts to manage the growing pygmy loris population.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Zoo*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Data Collection
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Housing, Animal / standards*
  • Internet
  • Lorisidae*
  • North America
  • Species Specificity