The Kadavur Reserve Forest is located in the Kadavur hills in central Tamil Nadu’s Karur district. The timid and secretive slender loris, a monkey species, lives in these woods. There is now a conservation issue with these creatures in the region. Previously, the forest was handled by the Karur forest range officer, who was under the Tiruchirappalli forest division’s jurisdiction. Following the creation of the Karur revenue district in 1997, the Karur forest division was established. The Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project (TAP), funded by the Japanese government, has afforested around 5,450 hectares of the Kadavur Reserve Forest. In recent years, protection has improved. This has greatly aided in the management of the forest. In recent years, the forest’s animal population has expanded. The woodlands are home to Indian bison, spotted deer, mouse deer, slender loris, jackal, mongoose, black-naped hare, wild boar, porcupine, monitor lizard, pangolin, monkeys, and pythons.
In the Kadavur Reserve Forest, a wildlife census done in 2016-17 revealAdd Newed a population of 3,500 slender loris. The population of slender lorises is expected to grow to around 5,000 in the future. There is no other forest with such a thriving population. The loris species may also be found in adjacent forest regions on the Kadavur hills’ eastern, southern, and western slopes, which are administered by the Tiruchirappalli and Dindigul forest divisions, respectively. The slender loris (Loris tardigradus) is nocturnal and reclusive. It generally moves from one tree canopy to the next. However, there are occasions when it is necessary to feed shrubs on the ground level. During the day, it sleeps in the foliage or in a hole or crevice. It emerges at dusk in the hunt for prey. They consume insects, lizards, tiny birds, tree frogs, sensitive leaves, and buds in addition to lantana fruit. They are generally seen alone, although they can also be found in couples. These animals are kidnapped and sold because it is thought that they have therapeutic characteristics. These animals are illegally trafficked since there is such a high demand for them as pets. Other dangers that have led its populations to decline include habitat destruction, electrocution by live wires, and traffic accidents. The Karur district forest officer (DFO) has presented a proposal to develop a species recovery programme to conserve and improve the endangered slender loris population. The region should be proclaimed a nature sanctuary, according to wildlife campaigners and other environmentalists, in order to safeguard the slender loris and other wild creatures. However, if a sanctuary is established, it may result in a slew of practical issues. Once a sanctuary is established, the topic of establishing an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) will emerge, and all 18 hamlets on the Kadavur hills would be adversely affected due to their proximity to the ESZ boundary.
The woodland has been protected and managed by the locals in the area. They gather forest goods such as tamarind, palmyrah leaves, medicinal plants, and certain edible fruits in exchange. The protection provided by the residents has resulted in a significant rise in the animal population. If a sanctuary is established, such activities would be banned, and residents will lose their source of income. The majority of the inhabitants are poor. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the slender loris as “endangered.” It was enacted under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, to provide the greatest degree of legal protection. The DFO has suggested implementing a Species Recovery Program for the slender loris’ preservation and scientific management, taking into consideration the aforementioned issues. Farmers in the villages around the Kadavur Reserve Forest’s foothills have been encouraged to practise organic farming since lorises are known to consume pests on crops and sensitive shoots of some plants. During the night, they travel slowly in quest of prey. They may occasionally cross roadways. They may become roadkill as a result of this. At vulnerable places, warning boards have been installed. Vehicle owners have been advised to drive cautiously, keeping an eye out for lorises, especially at night. They have also been made more aware of since they are important in the control of agricultural crop pests. Agricultural areas abound across the Kadavur basin. However, most of the basin’s upland portions have dry fields owing to water shortage. Wetlands are abundant in low-lying locations with access to water. Those who own property in the basin’s higher reaches can only grow dry crops and rely on sporadic rains. They have lost their primary source of income as a result of this. The entire ecosystem will benefit if the DFO’s proposed plan to safeguard lorises is authorised and executed. Farmers’ economic conditions will also improve as a result of improved water supplies since they will be able to grow at least one or two crops every year. Locals will gain if eco-tourism is established here with the cooperation and assistance of the eco-tourism management committee. The Tamil Nadu government should approve the plan as soon as possible in order to save the endangered slender loris and improve the environment as well as the lives of the people who reside in the Kadavur basin.