As reported earlier in this newspaper (Date: 11 May 2024), there has been an increased sighting of Slow Lorises in Mokokchung recently.

According to one of the forest rangers, the primary reason is because humans are encroaching and destroying their habitat through construction works, farming, and cultivation. The second reason would be in search of food.

The ranger also explained that the move towards human settlements could be due to attraction to lights.

“Since they are nocturnal, they must be curious to come and check,” the ranger said, adding that they might be checking human houses in search of food.

slow loris mokokchung
In another sighting of the Slow Loris in Mokokchung, on May 10 (Friday) in the Amenyong sector of Khensa village, at approximately 9:30 am, residents saw a Slow Loris maneuvering between the wires of electric poles. Unfortunately, the primate was accidentally electrocuted to death.

“As far as I know, they are tree dwellers, so with the clearing of jungle/trees, they are losing their habitat,” the ranger said, adding, “I read that they feed on gums and resins of trees, so if such trees are scarce, they may venture out.” However, the ranger noted that the entire Mokokchung town area is venturing further towards jungle areas.

ALSO READ: Slow Loris encounters rising in Mokokchung

The concerning trend aligns with broader environmental challenges facing the region. It may be noted that Mokokchung recorded a loss of 21.39 Sq Kms forest cover in just eight years from 2011-19, according to the State of Forest Report.

The department of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, government of Nagaland in its official website reports that, in the state of Nagaland, “a lion’s share of forest resources accounting/measuring 88.3% approximately is under the control of individuals and private communities and the forest department is having very limited regulations.” The department’s claim is justified as it can be evidenced that there are no government protected areas under Mokokchung district.

slow loris mokokchung
The Mokokchung Forest Division on 11 May (Saturday) rescued a trapped Slow Loris in Aongza Ward, Mokokchung town and released it at Minkong forest

In order to increase the “Protected Area,” the State Government had notified eighteen “Community Reserves” under Section 36 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, according to information on the department’s website.

Meanwhile, Centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun lists a total of 114 “Community Reserves” in Nagaland out of which 5 were found to be in Mokokchung district.

According to the most recent data from the Global Forest Watch monitoring project, five states in India including Nagaland accounted for 60 percent of all tree cover loss between 2001 and 2023. India, as a whole, has experienced a loss of 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000, marking a six percent decrease in tree cover over this timeframe. The Global Forest Watch refers to tree cover when talking about forest extent, loss and gain.

Mokokchung Times

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