Nature in our Cities: Seeking Slender Loris, the primate species found in India and Sri Lanka

Seeking Sustainability 17 June 2022

The webinar is part of the #SeekingSustainability initiative and be of particular interest to those who wish to know more about the environment and urban ecology.

Nature does not merely exist in the forest, but it abounds all around us, even in our cities. To explore and discuss flora and fauna in our vicinity, Azim Premji University brings you a Webinar series – Nature in our Cities.

In this webinar, ecologist Kaberi Kar Gupta will talk to academician Jayanti Ray Mukherjee on Slender Loris, a small nocturnal, arboreal primate found in Southern India and Sri Lanka. While they live in many habitats, they require continuous canopy and trees for movement and sleeping sites. They are solitary foragers, mostly move around alone and may sleep in a group of few individuals. They form pair bonds for mating. 

In Bengaluru, they were once found in most green patches in the city, but the population is now under pressure from development, even in institutional campuses and parks. 

About the Speaker

Kaberi Kar Gupta is an interdisciplinary ecologist who grew up in Kolkata. After graduating from college, she went to do her Master’s in wildlife biology from the Wildlife Institute of India and a PhD in Anthropology from Arizona State University.

She studied the Slender Loris and worked as a senior research fellow in the forests of Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve for about a decade. Her current research draws upon her training in multiple disciplines to study the ecology of cities and other places where people live alongside wildlife. 

Kaberi is the founder of the Urban Slender Loris Project — A community-engaged citizen science project based in Bengaluru. She also founded the Urban Water Wise Landscape project — a transdisciplinary collaborative research project in California. 

She has been collaborating with multiple citizen science projects — Fresno Bird Count, Triangle Bird Count, Farm to Table Project, and The Chili Project. Her most recent work has been a Citizen Science initiative with the Museum of Life and Science on Urban Garden Project in North Carolina.

Kaberi did much of her PhD fieldwork with a toddler in tow and has been an advocate for issues that affect women in the sciences, especially involving work in remote field locations. Her broader interests are at the intersection of science, environment, people, and policy. 

She co-founded Central Valley Café Scientifique in Fresno, California. She does science communication for audiences from elementary school to community members using multiple platforms.

She gives talks on the importance of science and people especially women in environmental conservation in the 21st century. 

Kaberi served on boards of nonprofits such as Audubon California and is a recipient of the Toyota Together Green Leadership Fellowship. 

In 2019, she received the Paul Sheehan Award for her contribution to public science from the COPUS (Coalition on Public Understanding of Sciences). 

She has also been a founding member of the Citizen Science Association in the US and has been serving in various working groups of citizen science Associations in the US and in India. 

This year she has been hosting a conversation series with women of the wild India. She is associated with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.

About the Moderator

Jayanti Ray Mukherjee’s interest lies in understanding how plants cope with stress. She uses the functional trait currency to examine the mechanisms related to stress and how individual plant response to stress can shape a plant community. 

She is interested in explaining population and community dynamics in space and time. She utilises a trait-based platform to evaluate plants suitable for restoration purposes. She is also very interested in understanding how researchers and managers collaborate efficiently and how the gap between science and practice can be bridged.

Know more about Jayanti Ray Mukherjee.

Visit Azim Premji University’s YouTube Channel here.

Know more about the #SeekingSustainability initiative here.