Yamanashi, Y., Nemoto, K., Alejandro, J. 2021. Social relationships among captive male pygmy slow lorises (Nycticebus pygmaeus): Is forming male same-sex pairs a feasible management strategy? American Journal of Primatology 83, e23233.
Little is known about the social behavior of pygmy slow lorises, in particular, the social relationships of same‐sex individuals have rarely been investigated. The Slow Loris Conservation Center was built at the Japan Monkey Center to enhance the welfare of confiscated slow lorises, promote their conservation, improve public education, and perform scientific research on the species. In the course of improving housing conditions, several same‐sex pairs of pygmy slow lorises were formed. We monitored their behaviors and fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) levels to understand whether male same‐sex pairings could be a feasible management strategy. The subjects were 10 male and 6 female lorises for comparison, all of whom were over 5 years old. We successfully formed five pairs of male lorises after eight formation attempts. Male pairs initially showed some aggressive behaviors; however, the rate decreased approximately 10 days after introduction. All of the male pairs eventually exhibited extensive affiliative social behaviors, including allogrooming and social play, during the dark (active) phase, and sleep site sharing during the light (inactive) phase. The rate of sleep site sharing during the light phase was higher than expected, suggesting that the pairs preferred to stay near each other. There was no evidence of increased stress after a long period of male–male social housing. Female same‐sex pairs and male–female pairs demonstrated a high level of affiliative behaviors right after the introduction. These results highlight the flexibility and high sociability of this species and indicate that such same‐sex pairings are a feasible option for their social management.