Alejandro, J., Yamanashi, Y., Nemoto, K. et al. 2023. Reducing stress and stereotypic behaviors in captive female pygmy slow lorises (Nycticebus pygmeaus). American Journal of Primatology 85(7), e23495.
Improving captive conditions of pygmy slow lorises (Nekaris and Nijman have recently suggested that the pygmy slow loris should be called the pygmy loris and is distinctive enough to warrant a new genus, Xanthonycticebu) (Nycticebus pygmeaus) poses many challenges because detailed aspects of their lives in the wild are incomplete. This hinders efforts to replicate sustainable environments for them. To improve their well-being in captivity, eight rescued female pygmy slow lorises at the Japan Monkey Center (JMC) were socially housed in two types of groups following their solitary housing: two pairs and one group of four individuals. They spent much of their time in affiliative behaviors, as well as sharing sleeping sites after placement in a social group. The purpose of my study was to examine whether social housing helped in reducing stress by comparing fecal glucocorticoids and stereotypic behaviors when housed alone and when with conspecifics. Overall, the levels of fecal glucocorticoids were significantly lower when socially housed than when kept alone. One individual exhibited stereotypic behavior when housed alone, but this behavior disappeared after social housing. These findings support recent evidence that pygmy slow lorises are social animals and will benefit from group housing in captivity. We conclude that social housing of pygmy slow lorises improves their well-being by reducing stress levels, and that their group housing in captivity can provide dividends for the conservation of this endangered nocturnal primate because lorises intended for release should find it easier to adapt to natural conditions.