In 1996 some children saw two small ‘monkeys’ sleeping on a bamboo clump in the school compound. When the villagers searched the clumps, they were found to be slender loris which excited everyone, recalls the school teacher V. Gundappa . According to him subsequently several people in the vicinity started reporting to Gundappa about spotting the rare animal in their areas too. These primates are found in Lakkenahalli, Sopanahalli, Timmasandra, Pannasandra, Banavara, Bidrekatte, Dommanakuppe and Bellagere, all neighbouring villages of Nagavalli.
Today, children from schools in and around Tumkur visit Nagavalli to see the animal. Villagers’ have made friends with the loris and no one harms them. “We are used to seeing these animals throughout the day. Sometimes in the evenings we see them crossing the road or moving in the bush,’’ says Maruthi, a villager. Interestingly, slender loris can be easily spotted only during nights because it is a nocturnal animal. But, in Nagavalli, even a school kid can guide you to the tree where slender loris rest in broad daylight.
“Today, these primates are facing the danger of habitat destruction. A few electric wires which have come up in the village are also posing a threat. We have requested the government department to insulate the electric wires where the loris is usually found” says Gundappa. According to Tumkur deputy conservator of forests M. Parameshwar, the department could not make Nagavalli a popular spot as the exact number of these animals was difficult to estimate. Conservationists are now planning to put pressure on the forest department to declare the village as community conservation reserve, however that must be done with the consent of the villagers and with their full participation.”