Recently the forestry officials at the range office, Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) in Zhemgang rescued a Slow Loris, which is believed to be a rare animal. Not much is known of the animal in the wild in Bhutan.
According to the senior park ranger, Sonam Wangdi, Slow Loris, a primate, is listed among the mammals of Bhutan, but it was never seen by any park ranger in Bhutan.
Sonam Wangdi said that he had rescued a Slow Loris before. The primate was found by a villager with a left arm burn in a forest fire in Assam, India.
“This is my second rescue of Slow Loris,” said Sonam Wangdi, adding, “I received a call from the Dekiling forest extension office regarding an unusual animal, believed to have shown up in the village and the villagers had trapped it in a bamboo basket.”
He said that the villagers thought the animal was a bear cub. “I have seen a Slow Loris, but never ever had single photo of it. I always used to have a curiosity to see how it looks, and always in doubt whether this primate really has a presence in our forest,” the park ranger said.
After the rescue operation, the primate was taken to the rescue centre where it was examined for injuries. It was found to be fit. The male Slow Loris weighed in at one kilogram.
The rescue team said that the primate must have either been chased by its predator or had come looking for food in the human habitat.
As per information on the Slow Loris, its presence, by direct sighting, has been recorded in four of the 20 dzongkhags in Bhutan so far. The first record was made in Mathanguri in the 1980s. It is believed to be present in the Royal Manas National Park, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary
Slow Loris is listed as vulnerable in IUCN red list due to the loss of habitat and severe pressures from hunting. The primate species also undergoes more than 30 percent reduction in population over three generations (approximately 21-24 years).