Slender Loris Threatened By Photographers

Indian researchers from Conservation Research Group in Kerala and the Wildlife Information Liaison Development Society have found the slender loris is being threatened by unethical photographers and local people that disrupt the tiny animal’s behavior and damage its habit to allow these photo seekers close to capture images.

Image Credit: Kalyan Varma
Image Credit: Kalyan Varma, Wiki Commons

They interacted with indigenous people in the southern Western Ghats at Kanithadam, near the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS), Kerala in the spring of 2011 in order to document their attitudes and behavior. People who live near the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary see lorises as bad luck so they don’t keep them as pets or eat them. They believe if a single woman should look at a loris, she will be unable to find a man to marry and have to spend the rest of her adult life alone.

Slender lorises are reclusive, insectivorous primates with very large eyes to help them see at night,when they are most active. During days, they spend most of their time sleeping. They are mainly tree-dwellers and stay up at about twelve to twenty feet. Tender bamboo leaves and insects are their two most common foods.

While the researchers were conducting their study, a loris was captured by some local people and was prodded on a branch while flashlights were shone on it, for photographers to get good angles for photos. The wild loris was then kept in someone’s house, so a photographer could take more photographs. After the photo shoot, it was released next to the house, but there was no continuous vegetation cover back to the site where it was collected, meaning that it would have to walk on bare ground exposed to any threats in order to get back to its home area. Feral and domestic dogs reportedly have killed these very small primates, when they are on the ground.

Moolah, misfortune or spinsterhood? The plight of Slender Loris Loris lydekkerianus in southern India is the title of their study paper. The authors are Arun Kanagavel, Cynthia Sinclair, Rajkumar Sekar and Rajeev Raghavan.

Unethical photographic practices cause harm to wild animals by disrupting their natural behavior, damaging their habitat,causing stress. Sometimes wild animals are driven or transported out of their natural habitat and left elsewhere, which makes them more likely to sustain injury or be killed.

Outside of the Peppara Wildlife Santuary, lorises have been sold as pets in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and various other places in Kerala.

Because of the lower costs of high-quality digital cameras it is only reasonable that more and more people like to enjoy the outdoors by trying to take nature photographs and those images sometimes are of wild animals. It isn’t ethical to disturb, harass or bait animals into coming close with human food for a good shot though. Without knowledge of the potential damage they can do, amateur and professional photographers can harm the wild animals they say they admire.

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