DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

Three Giant Squirrel Species In India.

The black giant squirrel or Malayan giant squirrel

The black giant squirrel or Malayan giant squirrel

  • The black giant squirrel or Malayan giant squirrel (Ratufa bicolor) is a large tree squirrel in the genus Ratufa native to the Indomalayan  zootope.
  • It is found in forests from northern Bangladesh, northeast India, eastern Nepal, Bhutan, southern China,  Myanmar,  Laos,  Thailand,  Malaysia,  Cambodia, Vietnam, and western Indonesia  (Java, Sumatra, Bali and nearby small islands).

In India

  • The Malayan Gaint Squirrel, one of the world’s largest squirrel, one of the world’s largest squirrel species that has the dark upper body, pale underparts, and a long, bushy tail, is currently found in parts of the West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
  • According to the study, the Malayan Giant Squirrel and its habitat are under threat from deforestation, fragmentation of forests, crop cultivation and over-harvesting of food, illegal trade in wildlife, and hunting for consumption. Slash-and-burn jhum cultivation in many areas of the Northeast contributes to the destruction of its habitat.

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

Grizzled Giant Squirrel

Grizzled Giant Squirrel

  • For the first time, researchers have sighted nests of the grizzled giant squirrel at Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The grizzled giant squirrel is usually known to nest in the Western Ghats in Southern India ranging from Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary in Kerala to Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Palani hills in Tamil Nadu.
  • 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
  • The grizzled giant squirrel is usually known to nest in the Western Ghats in Southern India ranging from Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary in Kerala to Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Palani hills in Tamil Nadu.

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