Primates of Sri Lanka

The world has 625 recognized species of primates of which Sri Lanka is home to five. The primates in Sri Lanka are one of the most talked of amongst nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts all over the world. The three primary primates all endemic to Sri Lanka namely the Toque Macaque (Macaca sinica), Purple Faced Langur (Trachypithecus vetulus) and the Red Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus) are all listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List and have also been listed amongst the world’s 25 most endangered primates. Sri Lanka has been recognized as one of the best destinations for primate watching, be it for leisure, study or photography; just a glimpse of these prized creatures that are rapidly disappearing from this earth will certainly tug at your heart strings.

The Toque Macaque has three recognized subspecies; namely The Dry Zone Torque Macaque or Common Torque Macaque (Macaca sinica sinica) found in Vavuniya, Mannar, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Puttlam, and Kurunegala in addition to Monaragala and Hambantota. They are known to avoid the Jaffna Peninsula and the central hills. The Wet Zone Torque Macaque or Pale-fronted Torque Macaque (Macaca sinica aurifrons) found in Kegalle, parts of Kurunegala, Galle and Matara Districts.

The Highland Torque Macaque or Hill-zone Torque Macaque (Macaca sinica opisthomelas) found in the South Western regions of the central hills, Ratnapura and Nuwara Eliya districts, Hakgala Gardens and cold climate montane forests.

The Red Slender Loris can be observed in lowland rain forests (up to 700m in altitude), tropical rain forests and inter monsoonal forests of the south western wet-zone of Sri Lanka.