HC seeks report on plea to declare slender loris habitats as sanctuary

Madurai

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the State to submit an action taken report on a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to authorities to declare the habitats of slender loris (thevangu in Tamil) in the State a sanctuary or a reserve in order to protect the species.

A Division Bench of Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and P. Velmurugan sought response in the petition filed by K. Pushpavanam of Madurai. The petitioner said that the slender loris habitats could be found in Kadavur hills in Karur district and Ayyalur forest in Dindigul district. These places should be identified as a sanctuary, he said.

In a counter affidavit, the State submitted that to declare a sanctuary for the conservation of slender loris, preliminary data about the presence and population in Kadavur and Ayyalur was essential. In 2018, a census was conducted in the Ayyalur forest. The population status could not be studied and only the abundance of the species was noted. The work had to be taken up by a specialist.

The State Action is being initiated to conduct a census of slender loris by specialists. Due to the nocturnal habitat and the arboreal nature of the animal, the exact number could not be determined. A detailed proposal for declaration of the reserved forest of Ayyalur and Kadavur range as slender loris wildlife sanctuary will be submitted after obtaining the details from all the survey sites with the help of forest staff, volunteers and members of non-governmental organisations, the State submitted. The court adjourned the case by four weeks.

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