DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

The Indian giant squirrel or Malabar giant squirrel

The Indian giant squirrel or Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) is a large tree squirrel species endemic to forests and woodlands in India. It is a diurnal, arboreal, and mainly herbivorous squirrel.

Distribution and habitat

  • This species is endemic to India, with main sections of its distribution in the Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats and Satpura Range as far north as Madhya Pradesh (approximately 22° N).
  • It is found at altitudes of 180–2,300 m (590–7,550 ft) in tropical deciduous, semi-deciduous (where often utilizing denser riparian growth), and moist evergreen forests and woodlands.
  • In general, its distribution is fragmented because it is intolerant of habitat degradation. 
  • Owing to habitat loss and poaching, the species has been categorised as near threatened by the Red List and listed under Schedule II of CITES.
  • It is an endangered species listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972