Loris’s are Sri Lanka’s mystical creatures of the night with their large bulging eyes and tiny limbs. They are the subjects of many tales that have been retold over the centuries. Hidden in the scrub-forested habitats of Sri Lanka’s dry zone, the grey slender loris weighs no more than 300g and emerges from its roost only after dusk to feast on insects, berries and other fruits. The grey slender loris is highly elusive due to its nocturnal nature and is threatened by habitat destruction across its range.
The forested nature trail at Jetwing Vil Uyana is regarded as the best site in Sri Lanka for ‘Loris watching’ with sightings of grey slender loris occurring virtually every night. They were first seen at Jetwing Vil Uyana in October 2010 by Resident Naturalist Chaminda Jayasekhara four years after the hotel opened. Today, there are seven resident Loris found in the premises and on the 31st May 2012, for the first time, Chaminda observed a loris with a baby on its back, confirming that the conditions and habitat at Jetwing Vil Uyana are ideal for the species.
The ‘Loris Information Centre’ was opened in late July 2012 adjoining the nature trail to educate visitors, generate more awareness and aid the conservation of this endangered and widely misunderstood primate. Jetwing Vil Uyana also plan to demarcate the nature trail as a Loris conservation site to ensure that the habitat is protected which will provide a safe refuge for these endangered primates, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka.Loris watching excursions are run by Chaminda and are conducted in small groups only with red-lightemitting torches to prevent any damage to the light sensitive eyes of the Loris.
Jetwing Vil Uyana, is a rare example in today’s world where the creation of a hotel has enhanced the natural eco-systems and increased an area’s biodiversity. Prior to the construction of the hotel in 2004, two years was spent in creating a wetland eco-system and regenerating previously neglected agricultural land. Today in addition to Loris, other scarce and threatened species including Otter, Fishing Cat and Mouse Deer are among 17 species of mammals found in these premises along with close to 100 species of birds, 36 butterfly species and 21 species of amphibians and reptiles.