I was in Nagavalli ,, a village near Tumkur recently to meet BVG sir aka B V Gundappa , a high school teacher whose passion and mission is to create awareness and conserve the slender loris in the villages around his home. Here is the story that I wrote about him in my column Inside Story. People do make places.
I had planned this evening journey on an impulse to meet BVG sir, as Gundappa master is known among his students in theGovernmentHigh School in Nagavalli village. And the agenda was not just to meet him , but to see one of the most exquisite creatures of the dark – the slender loris .BVG Sir and his team have been selflessly working on creating awareness to conserve and protect these animals in these villages over the last 15 years .
The toll gate arrives and we take the detour, but there is no sign of the master. It is almost twilight and the empty landscape stares back at us .We inch slowly forward and find a small shop, where our queries for one Gundappa Master from Nagavalli village is met with a blank stare. And then all of a sudden, the network comes alive as the phone rings. We drive a couple of kilometers ahead to find the master waiting for us with a wide grin .
He seems to be a household name in Nagavalli as villagers and students crowd around him the moment we enter the school. There is a huge board educating people about the nocturnal creatures on the compound wall. I ask him about his interest in slender loris and he says ,” I am a science teacher and am interested in wildlife and bio diversity.. But it was my 8th standard students who told me about three slender lorises that they had seen in the school compound. Fascinated by them , I started researching and then creating awareness about them. “ BVG Sir is not just into conserving slender loris ; he is also interested in butterflies , birds and even catches snakes.” I have also documented almost every flora in this region,” he says .
Today the master is almost synonymous with the word ,” kaadu papa “ as the animals are called in the local language .” It’s like a baby ,” he says, adding that people call him from all over Tumkur if they sight one .” We have rescued a lot of them from towns and villages and release them into the wilds. We also have a local veterinarian who takes care if they are injured,” he adds. The bigger threats he says are of road kills and electricity wires as several animals die of electrocution.
There are more than 60 slender lorises in the farms and wild habitats around Nagavalli and surrounding districts, most of which have been rescued by the master and his team. The omnivorous creatures prefer haunting small agricultural farm lands with trees and bushes where they are likely to find insects, says the master.
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