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09 October, 2008

Friend of Slender Loris

Dear nature lovers,

Many of you might have heard about the Slender Loris' of Nagavalli village near Tumakuru City. This place is a story of the tireless efforts of BV Gundappa, a school teacher and the current Chairman of Tumkur -based conservation group Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC), to conserve wildlife of our eastern plains.

An article on this place by Amit S Upadhye, who is doing a wonderful job of covering wildlife stories in the mainstream media, was published in The Times of India. The story reminds us of the rich bio-diversity of the much neglected eastern Karnataka, like Kaggaladu Heronry, Jayamangali (Maidenahalli) Blackbuck area, Devarayanadurga State forest and numoerous other places of spectacular wilderness which lie outside the Western Ghats and also need the Government's focus.


In conservation,
Ameen

Ameen Ahmed
WANC, Tumkur

PS: For those interested in emailing Mr.Gundappa, unfortunately he doesn't currently have access to internet at his home : (

Source: Sunday Times of India, Times City
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOI/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIBG&login=default&AW=1190527197187

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This village has an unusual friend
Amit S Upadhye | TNN
Nagavalli village (Tumkur district):

Are your children delighted to see wild animals on a TV show? But here is a village where one of the rare species dwells right in the backyard and peacefully co-exists with the villagers.

Slender loris (loris tardigradus), smallest of the primates in India, is found in abundance in and around Nagavalli village, situated 86 km from Bangalore. Thanks to a government high school teacher who was instrumental in making villagers aware of the wealth they have in their backyard for decades.

It was in 1996 some children saw two small monkeys sleeping on a bamboo clump in the school compound. When the villagers searched the clumps, they were found to be slender loris which excited everyone, recalls the school teacher Gundappa B V.

Later, several people in the vicinity started reporting to Gundappa about spotting the rare animal in their areas too. These primates are found in Lakkenahalli, Sopanahalli, Timmasandra, Pannasan dra, Banavara, Bidrekatte, Dommanakuppe and Bellagere, all surrounding villages of Nagavalli.

Today, children from schools in and around Tumkur visit Nagavalli to see the animal. Villagers have made friends with loris and no one harms them. "We are used to seeing these animals throughout the day. Sometimes in the evenings we see them crossing the road or moving in the bush,'' says Maruthi, a villager.

Interestingly, slender loris can be easily spotted only during nights because it is a nocturnal animal. But, in Nagavalli, even a school kid can guide you to the tree where slender loris are resting in broad daylight. Today, these primates are facing the danger of habitat destruction. A few electric wires which have come up in the village are also posing a threat for loris. "We have requested the department to insulate the electric wires where loris are usually found,'' Gundappa added.

According to Tumkur deputy conservator of forests B M Parameshwar, the department could not make Nagavalli a popular spot as the exact number of these animals was difficult to estimate.

Conservationists are now planning to put pressure on the forest department to declare the village as community conservation reserve on the lines of Kokkare Bellur where painted storks and pelicans coexist with villagers.

SLENDER NOTES

- Slender loris is a small, nocturnal primate found only in South India and Sri Lanka

- Loris tardigradus malabaricus is a subspecies of the slender loris which is found only in Western Ghats

- The animal has long, pencil-thin arms and legs. It has no tail and has saucer like eyes

- It lives alone or with a mate and an infant. It feeds on insects and small lizards

- It is protected under Schedule 1 of Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972



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