Slow Loris

Silchar: In yet another instance of wild, reclusive animals being found far from their habitat, forest officials rescued a Slow Loris from Hawaithang, Dholai in Cachar district.

Sources said youths spotted the primate on the roof of a school in Hawaithang, around 49 km from Silchar, on Wednesday after which they informed the Dholai forest department. A team of forest officials, led by Dholai forest ranger U Goswami, rescued the animal and took it to the Dholai forest range office, sources said.

Goswami confirmed the animal to be Slow Loris. Speaking to the media, Goswami reiterated the role of every animal and appealed to people to not kill animals. He urged locals to contact the forest office in case they found any wild animals in distress.

Residents said hunters often remain in search of animals in Hawaithang and the neighbouring areas for food. Hunters from the Mizoram side of the Assam-Mizoram inter-state border adjoining the Cachar district often roam around with bows and arrows and other weapons in different areas after sundown to catch animals. Had they (hunters) spotted the Slow Loris, they would have killed it, locals said.

Parthankar Choudhury, professor, wildlife conservation and research laboratory, Department of Ecology & Environmental Science, Assam University, told EastMojo that Slow Loris is a seclusive animal by nature and comes under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

“It is usually found in reserve forests and protected areas of Assam. However, due to increased habitat destruction, they occasionally come out from forests and enter dense urban areas,” he said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revised the status of the species from “vulnerable” to “endangered” in 2020, Chaudhury said.

In a recent study (published in PRIMATES- a reputed journal), habitat suitability modelling was conducted in southern Assam to analyse the suitable habitat of the Bengal Slow Loris. The modelling analysis was performed using MaxEnt software and with the help of a reconnaissance field survey and questionnaire data.

The finding regarding habitat distribution and suitability revealed that it is essential to identify priority areas for future research and focusing on survey efforts for long-term conservation of the species, not only in Northeast India, but in the entire range of its habitat, Choudhury said.

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