Rare primate ‘driven to brink of extinction by tea crops’ snapped first time

Monday, July 19, 2010

LONDON - For the first time, One of the world’s rarest primates driven to the brink of extinction by Britain’s taste for tea, has been pictured, reveal scientists.he Horton Plains slender loris has been so elusive for more than 60 years scientists believed the wide-eyed mammal had become extinct.

It had only been seen four times since 1937 but was fleetingly spotted in 2002 by researchers who identified it by the reflection of a light shone in its eyes. ccording to experts, the prime reason for its rarity was due to the loss of its natural forest habitat largely destroyed by the drive to create tea plantations.

Now scientists from the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) edge of existence programme have managed to capture the world’s first pictures of the rare animal during research aimed at quantifying how many species remain in the wild.

The picture of the endangered mammal shows an adult male Horton Plains slender loris, characterised by short limbs and long dense fur, sitting on a forest branch.

It was captured after more than 1,000 night time surveys in Sri Lankan forests taken during 200 hours of painstaking work.

The team not only took pictures of the animal but also captured three live specimens long enough to measure them.

“We are thrilled to have captured the first ever photographs and prove its continued existence - especially after its 65-year disappearing act,” the Telegraph quoted Dr Craig Turner, a ZSL conservation biologist, as saying. (ANI)

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