Foresters rescue Slender Loris

Trapper caught the animal 2 years ago in Javvadhi hills

P. Oppili

CHENNAI: : Wildlife authorities rescued a Slender Loris from a trapper at Vedanthangal on Tuesday. The poacher has been booked under the Wildlife Protection Act.

According to K.S.S.V.P.Reddy, Wildlife Warden, Chennai, M.Ganapathy had come to Vedanthangal with the animal. On getting the information, the local Forester, K. Sridhar, rescued it from him. Interrogation revealed that Ganapathy had trapped the animal some two years ago in Javvadhi hills in Tiruvannamalai district.

The Loris is an arboreal species and trapping them can be very difficult. Only those with the ability to climb trees can trap them, wildlife authorities said.

Ganapathy told the officials that for trapping the animal he had used a cloth to smother it. Officials said there was a belief that the `Thaayathu' (talisman thread) "handled" by a Loris acquired magic power.

Ganapathy had tried to train the Loris to `hold the thread for a few seconds' and the "empowered talisman was sold for Rs.10 each" among villagers. One could earn Rs. 200 a day by this the authorities said.

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, who studied the Slender Loris say that insects formed the bulk of the Loris' diet followed by small amounts of plant matter and gum.

The shy nocturnal prosimians are found in the dry forests of the Eastern and Western Ghats. The animal had been categorised as `highly endangered' due to hunting, trapping and deforestation.

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