Establishing the home range, behavioural ecology and habitat use of the Philippine slow loris (Nycticebus menagensis) and the Bornean tarsier (Cephalopachus bancanus borneanus)

Project Description

Project Leader: Dr Danica Stark

Recent publications:

Sleep patterns, daytime predation, and the evolution of diurnal sleep site selection in lorisiforms.

Jumping in the Night : An Investigation of the Leaping Activity of the Western Tarsier (Cephalopachus bancanus borneanus) Using Accelerometers.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the pattern of habitat use for the Philippine slow loris and Bornean tarsier? Are there any differences between sexes in habitat use?
  2. What are the social structures of these primates?
  3. What is the dietary strategy of the loris and tarsier?


Tarsiers and lorises are hand-captured opportunistically. Animals are measured in situ, and a small radio collar is fitted on suitable animals. Once the collar is fitted comfortably, they are immediately released to the tree where they were caught. Using the VHF tracking system, sleeping sites of the collared slow lorises and tarsiers are found every day, and the trees are marked in order to record re-use and return rates of sleeping trees, as well as to allow characteristics of the sleeping site area to be recorded at a later time. Nocturnal ranging behaviour is collected by following collared individuals for 6-hour shifts (18:00-00:00 and 00:00- 06:00), recording the individuals behaviour and location at set intervals. Environmental conditions are also recorded. Head torches with white light were used to locate the animals due to their reflective eye shine. Once the animal was spotted red filters were preferred, as studies indicate that red lights are less disturbing (Nekaris et al., 2008).

The outcome of this project is to establish needed baseline data for the Philippine slow loris and Bornean tarsier in Sabah, particularly in the LKWS, which includes the population status, habitat use, diet, social organization, and behaviour. This in turn will help aid the local wildlife authority (Sabah Wildlife Department) in designing effective management plans for the slow loris and the tarsier populations. The plans should address the continuous protection of habitat and sustainable extraction of natural resources and land use and how it affects the conservation of these two primates and the flora and fauna in the area.