By Our Reporter
Shillong: An endangered Bengal Slow Loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) was rescued in the South Garo Hills district by Baghmara resident, Raju R. Marak.
On his way back from Tura, Mr. Marak of Baghmara, Jongkhol, came across two hunters in the Sibbari-Demagre area with their catch which consisted of a Slow Loris and a dead rabbit.
Closer inspection revealed that the Slow Loris carried by a rope around its neck was still alive.
When asked what they were going to do with the Slow Loris, the hunters stated that they were going to eat it.
They had captured the Slow Loris the previous night from a nearby community forest.
As a result of large scale forest destruction in the Sibbari area, the majority of remaining wildlife are concentrated in the small remnant forest patches making them easy prey for hunters.
Showcasing tremendous sensitivity and patience Raju succeeded in convincing the hunters to part with the Slow Loris.
However, the hunters refused to part with their trophy without some compensation so Raju paid them Rs. 300 from his own pocket.
Sadly Raju was unable to seize the dead rabbit.
He then rushed the Slow Loris to Samrakshan Trust’s Baghmara office and handed it over to the Samrakshan staff in an unconscious state.
The Forest Department (BNP Division) has subsequently been informed and the rescued animal is currently recovering under the joint care of Samrakshan Trust and the Forest Department with advice on its care and treatment being received from Dr. Abhijit Bhawal, of the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre Kaziranga.
The centre is managed by Wildlife Trust of India.
The Slow Loris, a small reclusive primate is one of the many endangered wildlife species found in Garo Hills’ forests.
Slow lorises are a group of five species of strepsirrhine primates which make up the genus Nycticebus.
Found in South and Southeast Asia, they range from Bangladesh and Northeast India in the west to the Philippines in the east, and from the Yunnan province in China in the north to the island of Java in the south.
Samrakshan Trust has been working since 2004 to promote community based conservation of the forests and wildlife of the Garo Hills.
Despite the joint efforts of Samrakshan Trust, the Forest Department and other NGOs, illegal hunting continues to be a serious threat to the survival of Garo Hills rich wildlife.
One a more positive note the selfless and courageous efforts of concerned citizens like Raju is a heartening sign of growing concern for nature and wildlife among local residents, which will go a long way in safeguarding Garo Hills rich natural heritage.