The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered notice to the Centre and the State on a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to declare the habitats of slender loris (thevangu in Tamil) in the State a sanctuary, conservation/community reserve or a biodiversity heritage site, in order to protect the species.
In his petition, taken up by a Division Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and S. Ananthi, K. Pushpavanam of Madurai pointed out that slender loris habitats could be found in Kadavur hills in Karur district, Ayyalur forest in Dindigul district and parts of Tiruchi district. These places should be identified as a sanctuary for the animal, he said.
The petitioner said that slender loris was listed as ‘endangered category’ under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and by International Union for Conservation of Nature. Therefore, conservation measures must be initiated to protect them. The main reason for the decline in their population was encroachments on their habitats for firewood, cultivation, farming and widening of roads, he said.
Slender loris played an important role in forest regeneration. They spent most of the time on the trees and the rate of felling of the trees had a direct impact on their population. The habitats of the animal in the State must be recognised as a sanctuary in order to protect the species, he said.