Take effective steps to protect slender loris, says HC

Court also directs Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to conduct census

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to take effective steps to conduct a study on habitats, distribution and management of slender loris (thevangu in Tamil) in Dindigul, Karur and Tiruchi districts.

A Division Bench of Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and P. Velmurugan, which was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by K. Pushpavanam of Madurai, also directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to conduct a census of slender loris and file a report.

Once it was enumerated, the authorities could declare the habitats of slender loris in Kadavur hills in Karur district, Ayyalur forests in Dindigul district and habitats in Tiruchi district a sanctuary under Section 18 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the judges said.

Pointing to an earlier status report submitted by the Forest authorities, the judges observed that nothing was stated in the report about the efforts taken by the government to save the animal, which might become extinct shortly as they were hunted for certain medicinal purposes.

Though it was stated that the Forest Department, along with various NGOs, was involved in creating awareness of the importance of conserving slender loris, the State government had not taken any steps in this direction.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests/ Chief Wildlife Warden, Chennai, had granted permission to Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History in Anaikatti, Coimbatore, to conduct a study on ‘Comparative ecology and behaviour of slender loris in Dindigul/Madurai landscape’ for a period of two years. The School of Natural Sciences and Engineering at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, proposed to take up a research study from October 2022 to July 2024, the status report said.

The court observed that the State government could not have difficulty in conducting a census of slender loris in these areas and posted the case for reporting compliance to March 7, 2022.

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