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Little Rock Zoo announces birth of pygmy slow loris twins, species near extinction

The Little Rock Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a boy and girl set of twin pygmy slow lorises.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Editors note: The video shown above is from June 2021.

The Little Rock Zoo announced the birth of a boy and girl set of twin pygmy slow lorises.

The twins were born in June to dad, Frasier, and mom, Minh Yih. The babies are the second set of twins produced by the parents.

To celebrate the newest additions, the Zoo is hosting a naming contest. Zoo staff have selected three sets of names from which to choose. The public is invited to vote by online poll available at the Zoo’s website, the Zoo’s Facebook page and this survey link

Voting is now open and will end Friday, August 13, 2021. Choices for the sets of names are the following: 

  1. Nova (for the girl) and Sol (for the boy) [Lorises are nocturnal, so these are names that celebrate elements of space and sky]; 
  2. Garnet (for the girl) and Topaz (for the boy) [After the gemstones that share colors with lorises]; and Eloise (for the girl) and Elmer (for the boy) [Eloise for the beloved childhood character of books and movies, and Elmer since to goes nicely with Eloise.]

The birth of the slow loris twins comes at a recommendation of the Species Survival Plan ® Program (SSP). The SSP Program, developed in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), helps to ensure the survival of select species in zoos and aquariums, which are either threatened or endangered in the wild. 

Native to south east Asian countries (Vietnam, Laos, eastern Cambodia, and China), pygmy slow lorises are listed an endangered species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list. 

This status means this species is very likely to become extinct in the near future. They are primarily threatened by loss of habitat due to commercial and residential development, agricultural threats and other environmental threats.

Currently, there are only 44 pygmy slow lorises in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA’s) population, so the birth of these two at the Little Rock Zoo is significant to the conservation and survival of this species! 

The recent births represent an important contribution to the Pygmy Slow Loris SSP (Species Survival Plan).