MK Stalin announces First sanctuary for Slender Loris race in Tamil Nadu!
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has announced a separate sanctuary for the Slender Loris fauna, which is spread over an area of 11,806 hectares in Karur and Dindigul districts.
India has 65 wildlife sanctuaries in India, covering 3.73% of its geographical area. They are mostly focused on tigers, Elephants, Langurs, rhinos and now from Tamil Nadu Slender Loris is added to the list.
Kadavur Slender Loris Sanctuary is the first in India to be set up particularly for this breed. The government's announcement has created happiness among wildlife enthusiasts. With this, the sanctuary will play an important role in protecting the Slender Loris who are on the verge of extinction. It will also be another milestone in the efforts to protect wildlife in Tamil Nadu," Stalin said.
The Government of Tamil Nadu is ready to set up the Kadavur Sanctuary on the land sharing the districts of Palani, Karur and Dindigul. The sanctuary has been declared by the government under Section 26(a)(1)(b) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Let's understand what Slender Loris is and see some facts which can help us to understand why this is an important Move:
Features of Slander Loris:
Loris lydekkerianus is the biological name of Slender Loris and in Thamizh it is called 'Dhevangu', it is a very soft animal that lives in the vicinity of the forests. These animals mostly survive in deciduous forests, dense tropical shrubs, and thorny forests. They are known to be active at night. These are called Night animals.
The length of this breed which will be around 25cms and could weigh about 275grams.
Their hands will be long and tiny and have a unique type of eyes which are close together, round, large and brown in color. Most of the time they spend their life on trees. Moreover, their movements are very slow, but they can also act unusually more actively when they feel the dangerous moment.
The life span of Slander loris are 12 - 15 years as per the wild researchers.
Pregnancy period of Slender Loris:
Early mornings or late nights are the time they live together. The mating happens twice a year,
The predicted time frame of their mating by wildlife researchers are either from April to May or from October to November.
The gestation period ranges from approximately 166 to 169 days. They usually give birth to one cub and rarely, two cubs. The mother carries it for the first few weeks of the birth.
Generally, Slender Loris animals eat leaves, flowers, eggs of snails and birds apart from insects. A new study suggests that these are on the verge of extinction as they are the preferred animal for hunters.
It is said that we do not have any definitive surveys on 'how many Slender Loris survive in the forests'. The Slender Loris breed has been added to the endangered species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Whereas, the Slender Loris fauna is listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972. It is a species that lives in the eastern ghats of India. They are listed under endangered species as per the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)... Along with Asian elephants, Amazon River dolphin and Amur tiger Slender Loris are also under the high protection list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
When spoken to Raveendran Natarajan a full-time scholar of the Slender Loris about the sanctuary project announced by the Tamil Nadu government and the specialty of the Slender Loris breed.
"The Slender Loris live mostly in the Eastern Ghats. The Eastern Ghats begin from Sirumalai and Azhagarmalai. The forests adjoining the area were the habitat of them.
Slender Loris community:
Especially in the 1970s, we have seen Slender Loris roaming around in these areas like monkeys until the superstitious belief started hunting them.
This animal was destroyed for making and selling a magic rope using Slender Loris. They think that this breed has magical and medicinal powers. After the 1990s, the number of Slender Loris has come down drastically," says Raveendran Natarajan.
Their body parts like heart, liver, kidneys, limbs are used for black magic rituals to gain hypnotic powers, create love potions and more. Some are even killed as their body parts are believed to possess medicinal benefits and used to treat leprosy, joint pain and poor eyesight.
How were the Slender Loris destroyed?
"Many of the lands that used to be the habitats of the Slender Loris community have turned into farmlands. The landscape in the forests has also declined as it has faced many crises such as industrialization and urbanization. The bushy areas where they can live, and the thorn forests have also decreased. Due to these crises, the species has started moving towards extinction.
These Slender Loris are night animals. They can crawl very slowly. The situation has changed as roads have been torn in the middle of large forest areas. They crossed the roads very slowly at night and started dying after being hit by vehicles.
They can jump from tree to tree. But when the forests are destroyed, and the density of the forest was cut down they were unable to survive. After 2010, we along with the forest officials carried out a study. That's when our focus shifted to Slender Loris as part of it.
There are very few studies on Slender Loris animals. Some studies have been done on behalf of Gandhigram University which didn't complete yet. We hope the government's Slender Loris sanctuary will repair all of them. This is the first time in India that a Nocturnality animal sanctuary has been established. That's why we must thank the government and especially M.K.Stalin," he said.
Why do we see Slender Loris as a friend of Farmers:
We asked Ravindran, "In what way do Slender Loris help in the earth's biodiversity cycle?" " They act as a friend of farmers stopping the crops from being damaged. They eat insects and beetles. This helps in controlling the multiplication of these insects which could finish off the crops.
The beetles are detected and eaten during the larval stage. Therefore, they prevent the proliferation of beetles that pierce trees such as mango trees and coconut saplings in the farmlands and are beneficial for humans and agriculture."
There are three types of Slender loris identified till date, first one which lives around Mysore area, the second breed is that identified around Tamil Nadu and recently they identified the third which lives around the areas of Sri Lanka he said.
Till last year, there were no complete surveys on the number of Slender Loris at the Tamil Nadu level. A survey was conducted last year. "It is speculated that there may be around 1,000 to 1,500 Slender Loris.
Realizing this, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin has made a very quick announcement. Wildlife activists say the announcement is a role model for India.