Distribution, Habitat Correlates, and Conservation ofLoris lydekkerianusin Karnataka, India

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We surveyed slender lorises (Loris lydekkerianus) in Karnataka, south India intermittently during November 2001-July 2004 and estimated their relative abundance via direct sightings. Two subspecies, Loris lydekkerianus lydekkerianus and L. l. malabaricus, with different morphological traits, occur in the eastern drier region and the western wet region of the state, respectively. The distribution of Loris lydekkerianus lydekkerianus is patchy in a small region in the southeast, which contradicts earlier reports of its abundance throughout the state. Loris lydekkerianus malabaricus occurs throughout the Western Ghats as a contiguous population. The encounter rates of Loris lydekkerianus lydekkerianus and L. l. malabaricus are 0.41 individuals/km and 0.21 individuals/km, respectively. Whereas several forest tracts in the distributional range of Loris lydekkerianus malabaricus are protected areas, no such area exists in the distributional range of L. l. lydekkerianus. Loris lydekkerianus faces serious challenges of conservation because it largely occurs in commercial plantations, which can be relatively unstable habitats as harvesting can take place at any time.

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