Two young slender lorises were spotted near the Tirumala ghat road in Andhra Pradesh, earlier on Monday. The locals suspected that they had been abandoned and brought them to Tirupati. Slender loris, also known as Loris Tardigradus (scientific name) is one of the three species of Loris. Sharing the details about this rare species, Conservation Biologist at Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society, Murty Kantimahanti says, “Slender Loris is a nocturnal primate, which means it’s active at night. It is found in scrub jungles, thorny forests, deciduous forests of South India and Sri Lanka as well. It predominantly feeds on insects, eggs of birds and leaves.”
Describing their physical appearance, Mr Kantimahanti shares, “They have a small vestigial tail, large brownish eyes relative to their head size. The larger eyes enable the creatures to capture light. These animals weigh around 250 grams and are about 20 centimetres to 25 centimetres tall.” Contrary to their menacing appearance, the Conservation Biologist points out that they are very gentle animals and move really slow. Mr Kantimahanti adds, “The slender Loris is one of the least studied primates in India.” Mentioning that the forests of Sri Venkateswara National Park in Tirupati are known to have slender loris, Mr Kantimahanti says that the animals found on Monday might have wandered into human habitat.
However, the young slender lorises found near Tirupati ghat road reunited with their mother on Wednesday. After the forest watchers went back to the place where the lorises had been picked up and left them there, the mother came to the spot around 1 AM. But sensing human presence, it reportedly did not come near. After the watchers went far away, the mother returned around 3.30 AM and took away the young ones into the forest area.
Sharing that the species of slender loris is on the extinction, Mr Kantimahanti enlisted the main threats for their dwindling numbers. “Habitat destruction is the primary factor. They are also hunted down for superstitious belief which claims that they possess medicinal values and magical powers.” Regarding the legal protection of the slender loris, Mr Murty Kantimahanti says that the animals are protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wild Life Protection Act 1972, which pertains to the highest level of legal protection on par with the Royal Bengal Tiger. It is also included as an endangered species in the IUCN Red List Category, he added.