Trialling nutrient recommendations for slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) based on wild feeding ecology.

Research paper by F F Cabana, E E Dierenfeld, W W Wirdateti, G G Donati, K A I KAI Nekaris

Indexed on: 27 Apr '17Published on: 27 Apr '17Published in: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition


Slow loris (Nycticebus spp.) captive diets have been based on routine and anecdotes rather than scientific fact. The growing body of evidence contradicts the high fruit diet supported by such anecdotes. Non-human primate nutrient requirements are grouped into new (based on the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus) or old world (based on rhesus macaques Macaca mulatta) primates. Slow lorises are known to suffer from many health ailments in captivity such as dental disease, obesity, wasting and kidney issues all of which have been linked to diet. This study aimed to estimate nutrient intake from free-ranging slow lorises and to determine whether this intake can be used as nutrient recommendations. We collected data of nutrient intake, food passage rate and digestibility of captive slow lorises on three diet treatments 1: current captive type diet which is mostly fruits, 2: wild-type diet made only of food items from their natural diet, 3: new diet made to reflect wild slow loris nutrient intake. In order to validate our nutrient recommendations, diets 2 and 3 would have to be significantly different to Diet 1 in terms of nutrients, but not different from each other. Captive diets were significantly higher in soluble carbohydrates and lower in minerals and fibre fractions than both diets 2 and 3. Diets 2 and 3 led to a significantly increased food passage time and to more effective fibre and calcium digestion compared to Diet 1. We also observed obese individuals lost weight and underweight individuals gained weight. Our nutrient recommendations have been validated by our trials, and new or old world monkey nutrient recommendations are not consistent with our results. Diets should be high in protein and fibre and low in soluble carbohydrates and fats.