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It took the researchers from the Zoological Society of London, 200 hours to find this elusive creature, but in the end it was well-worth it! For they managed to do what nobody else has every done before - take amazing pictures of the Horton Plains Slender Loris, last seen in 1939 and thought to be long extinct!
The wide-eyed mammal, which has been seen only four times since 1937, was reportedly spotted in 2002, but since no pictures were taken, the sighting was never verified. However, that report encouraged the Zoological society and some researchers from Sri Lanka, to launch a search for this tiny, eight-inch long prosimian.
Native to the jungles of Sri Lanka and India, the Horton Plains Slender Loris is part of the Slender Loris family, a nocturnal animal, the size of a chipmunk that resides in the thick, thorny vegetation, where it can avoid predators and find plenty of insects to eat.
The Horton Plains species appears to have short and sturdier limbs, possibly an adaptation to the cooler high altitude Montane forests (forests that get their precipitation from mist or fog), where it lives. Scientists are now trying to conduct further studies to see if it is different enough to be classified as a sub-species of the Slender Loris similar to the Red Slender Loris and the Gray Slender Loris.
Exciting as the find is, scientists are hoping that many more of these beautiful creatures do exist - But given that their primary habitat, the Montane forests, now comprise of less than one percent of Sri Lanka,they are not too optimistic. Hopefully, we will be able save them before they totally disappear.