- In a first in the country, the Tamil Nadu government notified the Kaduvur slender loris sanctuary, covering 11,806 hectares in Karur and Dindigul districts.
- Slender lorises, which are small nocturnal mammals, are arboreal as they spend most of their life on trees.
- The species acts as a biological predator of pests in crops and benefits farmers. Listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, slender loris has a wide range of ecological roles in the terrestrial ecosystem. The survival of the species depends on habitat improvement, conservation and mitigation of threats, SupriyaSahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, said.
- The sanctuary will cover Vedasandur, Dindigul East and Natham taluks in Dindigul district and Kadavur taluk in Karur district.
- In April, the announcement of the establishment of India’s first wildlife sanctuary for Slender Loris in the State was made in the Assembly.
- Subsequently, the government notified ‘Kadavur Slender Loris sanctuary’ under Section 26 (A)(1)(b) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- “Projections show that there are close to 14,000 Slender Lorises in the Dindigul and Karur forest divisions alone, which seems to be the source and core population for various patches of the animal sighted across the State
- A total of ₹5 crore has been earmarked for the Dindigul and Karur forest reserves to establish the sanctuary and its management until 2026, he said.
- Welcoming the establishment of the sanctuary, N. Arunsankar, an environmentalist from Oddanchatram, said the animal would now be able to live in peace without hurtful human intervention.
- “Trespassing of people would be minimised, people who capture the poor animal for commercial purposes would be clipped,” he said.
- In December 2021, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests/Chief Wildlife Warden to take steps to conduct a study on the habitats and distribution of Slender Loris in the Ayyalur forests in Dindigul district, the Kadavur Hills in Karur district and in Tiruchi district.
- It also directed the authorities to conduct a census of Slender Loris in these areas. Once the enumeration is done, the authorities can declare the habitats a ‘sanctuary’, the court said, disposing of a public interest litigation petition.
- In February this year, the Forest Department recorded about 8,800 direct and indirect sightings of Slender Loris in the Kadavur reserve forest in a survey carried out over three days.
Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972: Schedule I
CITES: Appendix II
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB