Alejandro, J., Yamanashi, Y., Nemoto, K. et al. 2021. Behavioral changes of solitary housed female pygmy slow lorises (Nycticebus pygmeaus) after introduction into group enclosures. Animals 11(9), 2751.

Pygmy slow lorises (Nycticebus pygmaeus) are threatened with extinction in the wild. Their nocturnal lifestyle and small size make them difficult to study in their natural habitat, but increasing evidence suggests that they are more social than previously thought. Our study was designed to assess the sociability of pygmy slow lorises by transferring six adult females from solo cages into environmentally enriched group home cages at the Japan Monkey Centre’s Slow Loris Conservation Centre. Two females were paired to create one group, while the other four were placed together in a second group. We compared their social interactions, activity budgets, and postural behaviors before and after social housing was initiated. We found that all-female slow loris groups had a high degree of sociality, preferred to stay close to each other, nested together every night, and spent less time in locomotion and more time grooming than when living alone. These results suggest that female pygmy slow lorises actively seek companions when available. The captive housing of all-female groups of lorises could lead to better husbandry practices and improved animal welfare by allowing them to have conspecific companions. We conclude that isosexual groups of pygmy slow lorises should be preferred over single housing when possible.

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