The Tamil Nadu government recently notified the Kadavur Slender Loris sanctuary in the districts of Karur and Dindigul, a first in the country. Previously, the Madras High Court directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to take immediate action to conduct a study on the habitats, distribution and management of the slender loris (thevangu in Tamil).
About the ‘Slender Lorises’ –
- The Slender Lorises (Loris) are a genus of loris native to India and Sri Lanka.
- The genus comprises two species — the red Slender Loris found in Sri Lanka and the gray Slender Loris from Sri Lanka and India.
- They are found in tropical rainforests, scrub forests, semi-deciduous forests and swamps.
- In India, the animal is largely found in the Eastern Ghats of the Karur and Dindigul Forest Divisions.
- According to a census taken in 2016-17 by the Forest Department, the Kadavur Reserve Forest has a population of 3,500 Slender Loris, which is estimated to be around 5,000 currently.
- These small nocturnal mammals (active during the night and sleeping during the day) are arboreal in nature as they spend most of their life on trees.
- It is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian legislation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972.
- Slender Loris has a wide range of ecological roles to play in the terrestrial ecosystem. The species acts as a biological predator of pests in agricultural crops and benefits farmers.
- Since it faced major threats such as habitat loss, hunting for the pet trade and road kills, the official felt the need for enhanced protection through a sanctuary.
- The survival of a species depends on its habitat improvement, conservation efforts and mitigation of threats.
- In significant steps towards conservation of wildlife, Tamil Nadu government notified —
- India’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve in Palk Bay.
- Kochuveli bird sanctuary in Villupuram and Nanjarayan Tank bird sanctuary in Tirupur.
- The State’s fifth elephant reserve at Agasthyamalai in Tirunelveli.
- Further, 13 wetlands across the State were declared as Ramsar sites.
- Earlier, an announcement on the establishment of India’s first wildlife sanctuary for Slender Loris in the State was made in the Legislative Assembly.
- Subsequently, the government has notified ‘Kadavur Slender Loris sanctuary‘ under the WPA, 1972.
About the Kadavur Slender Loris sanctuary –
- Recognising the need for immediate conservation of Slender Loris species, the State government designated 11,800 hectares of forest as important habitats for the Kadavur Slender Loris sanctuary.
- This will cover Vedasandur, Dindigul East and Natham taluks in Dindigul district and Kadavur taluk in Karur district of Tamil Nadu.
- The entire forest in the taluks has been classified as a reserve forest and considered a hotspot in the State for Slender Loris.
- The medium to high temperature in the hill, which has an elevation of about 1,200 m above sea level is attributed to the growth of Slender Loris.