Slender Loris Conservation
Adjacent to the northern slope of Ayyalur hills and surrounding Ghats sections in the Dindigul, Tiruchirappalli, and Karur districts of Tamil Nadu, lies Ayyalur Reserve Forest in the Eastern Ghats- an International Hotspot to the Slender loris.
The region is ecologically important because of its location (which meets with the Western Ghats at some locations) and its species diversity. It hosts the greatest number of species of animals and plants in India. For this reason, it is also an environmentally hot spot in terms of declining biodiversity both flora and fauna, due to social and economic needs of the communities.
Ayyalur Forests habitats the highly endangered Slender loris declining fast due to poaching, medicinal and other uses, chemical pesticide poisoning, deforestation, grazing, forest fire, road accidents, loss of trees and nesting space. The fringe communities that are involved in small farming using high doses of highly poisonous pesticides and fungicides which also kills the fragile loris, due to toxicity in water and soil. Tree felling and logging also destroys the habitat of the loris and affects all other mammals and species in the forest.
In lieu of this background and the situation, Bosch through its implementing partner SEEDS Trust implemented the “Ongoing Project of Slender Loris Conservation” in August 2019 through Awareness and Training on Pesticide free cultivation, Tree planting and Biodiversity Conservation.
Slender lorises, which are small nocturnal mammals are arboreal in nature as they spend most of their life on trees. The species acts as a biological predator of pests in agricultural crops and benefits farmers.
Listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Slender Loris has a wide range of ecological roles to play in the terrestrial ecosystem.
‘The survival of the species depends on its habitat improvement, conservation efforts and mitigation of threats,’ said Supriya Sahu, additional chief secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, in a statement
In the year 2019 & 2020 the project was implemented in 20 villages of Ayyalur. The following activities were undertaken as part of the initiative:
• 5000 saplings were planted which in turn helped slender loris to thrive in that
• Awareness programs through various modes such as night dramas, skits, announcements were made. This reduced the road kills and killing of slender loris for superstitious beliefs.
• Bosch volunteers witnessed the increase in no. of slender loris sightings. During our first intervention 2 to 3 loris were sighted within one sq. km and while exiting the project we could sight around 15 species within a sq. km.
• Villagers in Dindigul area are now taking utmost care of slender loris by educating their children, keeping water for the slender loris species and also planting saplings that attracts insects that the loris will feed on.
• Realizing the need for immediate conservation of this species, the State government identified forest areas measuring 11,800 hectares in Karur and Dindigul districts as important habitats. Tamil Nadu government on Oct 12, 2022, notified Kaduvur slender loris sanctuary covering 11,806 hectares in Karur and Dindigul districts.”
To know gauge the project’s impact, Volunteers from Bosch went on a trip to Ayyalur every quarter, and to sight the Slender Loris during the night trek into the mountains.
During our first intervention, 2 to 3 loris were sighted within one sq.km. And towards the completion of the project, we could sight around 15 species within a sq. km. Visible impact was seen due to the number of initiatives taken up through this project.
Realizing the need for immediate conservation of this species, the State government has now identified forest areas measuring 11,800 hectares in Karur and Dindigul districts as important habitats. In a first in the country, in October 2022 the Tamil Nadu government on Oct 12, 2022, announced the Kaduvur slender loris sanctuary covering 11,806 hectares in Karur and Dindigul districts.
We are happy that through our efforts and the intervention of the government, we were able to make an impact on the conservation of the Slender Loris.