Tamil Nadu notifies India’s first sanctuary for slender lorises

Updated on Oct 13, 2022 11:58 AM IST

Slender Lorises are small nocturnal animals, which are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and are listed under the Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972.

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By, Chennai

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday notified the country’s first sanctuary for the nearly threatened Slender Loris in Karur and Dindigul districts of the state.

Slender Lorises are small nocturnal animals, which are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and are listed under the Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972. The species, which are native to of southern India and Sri Lanka, are arboreal in nature, which means that they spend most of their life on trees. The species acts as a biological predator to pests of agricultural crops, and has a wide range of ecological roles to play in the terrestrial ecosystem.

The upcoming sanctuary will be spread over an area more than 11,000 hectares, chief minister M K Stalin said. “Happy to announce that the government of Tamil Nadu has notified India’s first “Kadavur Slender Loris Sanctuary” covering an area of 11,806 hectares in Karur & Dindigul Districts.” The sanctuary will play an important role in conservation of slender loris and yet another milestone in conservation efforts, he added.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu is committed to conserving the endangered Slender Loris species,” said a statement from the department of environment, climate change and forest. “The survival of the species depends on its habitat improvement, conservation efforts and mitigation of threats,” the statement read.

As many as 13 reserve forests will form the sanctuary--which will set up under section 26 (A) (1) (b) of Wildlife (Protection) Act -- such as Mullipadi in Karur and Pannamalai in Dindigul. The sanctuary will take up an area of 5,700 hectares in Karur, while the remaining 6,106.38 hectares will be in Dindigul district.

The state environment department added that it has undertaken several efforts for the conservation of wildlife, especially endangered species, such as notification of India’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve in Palk Bay, Kazhuveli Birds Sanctuary in Villupuram, Agasthiarmalai Elephants Reserve, the Nanjarayan Tank Birds Sanctuary in Tirupur and 13 wetlands included in the Ramsar Sites. “These path breaking initiatives in the short span of 15 months have put Tamil Nadu at a pivotal position in the field of Conservation,” the department said in a statement.

Experts say that the government’s focus should be on maintaining the canopy continuity to help the species thrive. “The major factor here is that more than 60-70% of the animal is already lost,” said Honnavalli Kumara, principal scientist-conservation biology, Salim Ali for Ornithology and Natural History in Coimbatore. “They are nearly threatened and found only in fragmented patches. Their density is highly confined to a few pockets.”

“From the point of conservation, we don’t need to do much in the forest area. We need to maintain the canopy continuity by retaining good patches of the forest and connecting the patches. We don’t need to provide a water body, nor cultivate plantations or fruit trees. However, we have to control firewood collection by the locals because there is a heavy dependency on these patches.”

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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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