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Student Prize Award Abstract
1996 Poster Paper Award


K. Kar Gupta
Wildlife Institute of India, P.O. Box 18, Dehradun 248 001, India.

Slender loris, Loris tardigradus, is a nocturnal prosimian endemic to the tropical deciduous forests of south India and Sri Lanka. Although these forests comprise a large proportion of the peninsular Indian forest tracts, pressures on this habitat are high compared to other forest types. The first long-term study of the slender loris was therefore initiated in the 817 sq. km. Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, in the southern Western Ghats hill ranges in India. One of the main objectives of this study was to estimate the distribution and abundance of the loris in relation to habitat types and human disturbances. Nocturnal censuses were conducted in habitats ranging from evergreen forests in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats to semi-evergreen and deciduous forests in the lower elevations. Habitat parameters including altitude, tree density, climber density, plant height, and canopy continuity were measured. Human disturbances such as lopping and cutting of trees for fuelwood were simultaneously recorded. Preliminary results show that the slender loris is more common in the natural deciduous forests than in evergreen forests. Canopy continuity is an important habitat factor regulating their distribution. Human disturbances which have led to widespread habitat degradation is an immediate threat to the slender loris populations in this reserve.

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