Yumnam Arun, an Assam Rifles personnel and Thangjam Dipak Singh were on their way to Churachandpur district in Manipur, when a strange sight greeted them. In a village they noticed a rare Bengal slow loris at the village Godman’s home. Sensing the animal was in danger, the two made sure that the small animal was safe and rescued.
Barely a month after People for Animal (PFA), Thoubal, managed to unite a male slow loris with its displaced female partner in Manipur, a young soldier came to the rescue of another female slow loris, that could have been killed if not for his timely intervention.
Last week Yumnam Arun and Thangjam noticed the loris beinf reared by a tribal elder at his village home. When asked he informed that he would kill the animal and use the body parts to cure human ailments. The elderly also said that he was the village ‘Godman’ or ‘Medicine man’ and had captured the endangered Loris from a nearby jungle.
The man added that Loris fur could stop bleeding when applied on a wound and its tongue could cure a broken human limb, while its limb when put on the abdomen of a pregnant woman helped easy delivery of a child.
The soldier and his friend were aghast to learn about the intentions of the man. They began negotiating with him to release the poor Loris, but when he did not agree, the two bought it for Rs. 4,800 after a long struggle.
It is against the law to rear and keep Slow Loris at home. But in that particular situation and knowing the social stand of the village elderly, the two good Samaritans did what they thought was the best way to help free the loris.
They then handed over the loris to Kakching police station on Monday.
Ironically, a local medicine man had approached the young men while the animal was still in their custody and expressed his readiness to offer Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 for the loris.
The loris is now safe at the enclosure of PFA Thoubal. It suffered an injury around its neck caused by the rope it was tied with. But it is now under intensive care at PFA Thoubal under the observation of Thoubal Veterinary Hospital, said managing trustee Lourembam Biswajeet Meitei.
“We salute the two for their inspiring act. PFA Thoubal warns all, especially the hill people of Manipur, against hunting and poaching of wild animals. We also appeal to forest officials in hill districts to be more cautious,” he added.
According to TOI only last month a male slow loris was rescued from a hill in the same disctirct and brought to PFA. On March 8 again a female of the species was rescued from poachers by a village woman and handed over the organisation. The two and the newly rescued slow loris will now be relased back into the wild once they are deemed fit.
Why Slow Lorises need such acts of Human Kindness?
Slow loris comes under schedule 1, a list of the most endangered animal species’ category in India, under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA).
The Hindi name for this member of the primate family is sharmili billi, though it is no relative of the cat family. It is a round headed, round eyed lemur distinguishable in having its second toe clawed and the other toe furnished with flat nails.
According to the Ruffords Small Grants Foundation Website,
Bengal Slow loris is reportedly distributed throughout NE India, Bangladesh, China and Thailand.
Virtually no detail study has been conducted on its status and ecology of this species in India; hence no conservation action plan has been formulated in this region. The existence of the species is seriously threatened by hunting and deforestation.
It is a nocturnal animal and in captivity has always shown signs of distress.
So little is known of this beautiful animal that any threat to its existence will only be counted as another human blunder.
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