Bwye, P. 2021. Social distancing is over: A pygmy slow loris trio housed together at Bristol Zoo Gardens. RATEL (Journal of the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers) 48(3), 15-17.
After the loss of one of our breeding males and the export of loris offspring, in 2021 our off-show female loris was solitary. During this time, we noticed a number of changes in this female including erratic behaviour, lack of activity, reduced appetite, as well as overgrooming on her stomach and limbs. Within our loris enclosures, we have cameras installed to monitor the lorises’ behaviour and from this we learned just how social these primates can be, with play and allogrooming behaviour seen most days. In an effort to improve the solitary female’s welfare, we began to investigate the idea of housing her with our on-show breeding pair, to whom she had been exposed to individually, but years before. Social housing reduced stereotypies in captive slow lorises, and a pygmy slow loris trio has been housed successfully at Moscow Zoo. Overall, this experience has been a great learning curve for us as loris keepers to try something new and surprise ourselves with the results. We feel that not only has this removed Holly’s welfare issue, but it has maximised space for our lorises so that they can all benefit.