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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Loris Lives! First Pictures of Primate Thought To Be Extinct

This cute furry primate is the first of its species to ever be photographed.

The Horton Plains slender loris (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides) was thought to be extinct. Between 1939 and 2002, no one spotted the animal. In 2002 someone reported a possible sighting, but didn’t get any pictures.

The 2002 report inspired the Zoological Society of London and a team of Sri Lankan researchers to launch an effort to find the 8-inch-long primate.

After 200 hours of searching, they captured the first ever pictures of the creature, which were released Monday.

“The discovery improves our knowledge of this species, but we need to focus our efforts on the conservation and restoration of the remaining montane forest where this species still exists,” conservation biologist Dr. Craig Turner of the Zoological Society of London said in a press release. “Currently this accounts for less than 1 percent of the land area of Sri Lanka.”

The Horton Plains slender loris is a subspecies of the red slender loris. It is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Image: AP Photo/Zoological Society of London/Ho.