Ratufa affinis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Ratufa affinis (Raffles, 1821)
Common Name(s):
English Pale Giant Squirrel, Cream-coloured Giant Squirrel
French Écureuil De Raffles, Écureuil Géant Commun, Ratufe Dorée

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-11-07
Assessor(s): Meijaard, E.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Giman, B, Han, K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Gerrie, R.
Pale Giant Squirrel is listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably in significant decline (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over ten years), because of widespread habitat loss and hunting through much of its range, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A2c.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread throughout its range in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo. It occurs up to 1,500 m asl (E. Meijaard pers. comm).
Countries occurrence:
Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera); Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Singapore; Thailand
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Pale Giant Squirrel is quite rare in Sarawak and peninsular Thailand. This species was the most abundant of its genus found in a survey conducted by Saiful and Nordin (2004) in Peninsular Malaysia (Weng River sub-catchment), with a density of 1.30 ± 0.61 individuals/km². In general, this species is found at low densities in unlogged forest in Malaysia; in Danum Valley, Sabah, Norhayati (2001) found 3.61 individuals/km², while Zainuddin et al. (1996) found 5.18 individuals/km² in Nanga Gaat, Sarawak. A study in Wang Kelian State Park, Malaysia, where the species had previously been recorded, failed to detect the species (Jayaraj et al. 2013). A survey in west Kalimantan found highest densities of the species in peat swamp forest, freshwater swamp forest and alluvial bench forest (Marshall et al. 2014).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a closed canopy species that is never seen on ground, and is dependent on tall, wet evergreen forests (Giman pers. comm.). This species can tolerate plantations and secondary forest (Giman pers. comm). This is an arboreal species (Saiful and Nordin 2004). It has been suggested that one of the reasons for low densities of this species in Malaysian tropical rain forest is competition from the great variety of other arboreal vertebrates (such as birds, and especially primates) for food, especially fruits and leaves, which are among the food items preferred by squirrels (Saiful and Nordin 2004).  In Sabah it was recorded in pristine forest (Sreekar et al. 2010) and in lowland dipterocarp forest in West peninsular Malaysia (Ruppert et al. 2014). Surveys in west Kalimantan found the species in peat swamp forest, freshwater swamp forest and alluvial bench forest (Marshall et al. 2014).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by logging and hunting in forest fragments, it is probably sensitive to even selective logging (Giman pers. comm). In one review it was found that two out of three monitored populations of this species decreased in density after logging (Meijaard and Sheil 2008). Deforestation rates in insular Southeast Asia between 2000-2010 showed that the largest losses were in peat swamp forests followed by lowland evergreen forests (Miettinen et al. 2011). Annual habitat loss rates on the Malay Peninsula, and in Sumatra and Borneo varied between 0.9% to 2.7% between 2000 and 2010 (Miettinen et al. 2011). Loss of dense, closed canopy forest between 0 and 1,500 m asl on Borneo totalled 63% between 1973 and 2010, indicating loss annual rates of 1.7% (Gaveau et al. 2014). Hunting for this sizeable species would likely increase rates of decline in most places which hunters can access (E. Meijaard pers. comm).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in many protected areas (Han and Giman pers comm.). It is protected in Sarawak and Malaysia (Giman and Han pers. comm.), as well as probably in Thailand (Giman pers. comm.). It also protected by CITES Appendix II (Han and Giman pers. comm.). Saiful and Nordin (2004) state the need for further comparative study on this species' abundance, density and distribution and its relationship to forest structure or habitat quality, spatially and temporally, in hill dipterocarp forest of Malaysia.

Citation: Meijaard, E. 2017. Ratufa affinis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T19376A22261483. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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