Rheithrosciurus macrotis 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Rheithrosciurus macrotis
Species Authority: (Gray, 1856)
Common Name(s):
English Tufted Ground Squirrel
Taxonomic Notes: Was in incorrectly before 2004 as Rheithrosciursus

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-05-05
Assessor(s): Meijaard, E.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Duckworth, J.W.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Clayton, E.
This species is assessed as Vulnerable based on an estimated population decline of greater than 30% in three generations (approximately 15 years for this species), including some time in the past and the future. This low density species is very susceptible to fragmentation and is threatened by habitat loss and hunting.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found on the island of Borneo (Thorington and Hoffmann 2005), including Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), Brunei Darussalam, and Indonesia (Thorington et al. 2012).
Countries occurrence:
Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia (Kalimantan); Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is rare, occurring at low densities (Thorington et al. 2012). Population information for this species is currently unknown.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is only recorded from primary and selectively logged forest in hilly areas at elevations lower than 1,100 m, and forested coastal flats, however, it is not well surveyed in other habitat types. It could be dependent on good quality habitat. Specifically its association with certain tree species, such as Canarium, has been noted (Marshall and Meijaard unpubl. data). It has been observed on occasion in orchards and secondary forests. In primary forest, this species does not seem to be abundant, with only occasional camera trap or observational records (Wearn pers. comm.), although locally the species is commonly photographed on camera traps, especially around specific food trees. The species is diurnal and rare sightings suggest that this species forages primarily on the ground, with rare sightings in the lower and upper canopy. Their diet consists primarily of fruits, nuts and seeds, and with occasional other items like insects taken (Thorington et al. 2012); meat-eating is recorded by hunters but this remains unproven (Meijaard et al. 2014). Mathai (pers. comm.) sighted this species on rare occasions in forest that had been logged between 5-10 years ago at elevations of 600-800 m at close proximity with submontane, intact forest.
Generation Length (years):5.52

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunting is known to occur for this species and is legal (licence required) in Sabah (Malaysia). The species is totally protected in Sarawak (Malaysia), but not listed as protected in Indonesia and Brunei.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has shown some tolerance to disturbance, however, it is unknown whether it can persist in these disturbed habitats or whether it will disperse away from them. The biggest threat to this species is the conversion of forest to monoculture plantations and unsustainable logging practices (Mathai pers. comm.). In addition, although this species is not targeted by hunters, it is threatened by hunting, due to spending a lot of time on the ground where it is susceptible to snares and traps (Thorington et al. 2012, Mathai pers. comm.).

Forest loss on Borneo between 1973 and 2010 was especially high in lowland areas lower than 500 m asl where 39% of the 1973 forest area had been lost by 2010 (Gaveau et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is protected in Sarawak (Malaysia) but not in other areas of the island (Thorington et al. 2012). This species also causes damage in forest gardens and is viewed negatively by some local residents which could have possible implications for its conservation. This species is found in protected areas across its range, but very few of these are well-managed suffering from illegal hunting, encroachment and hunting (Mathai pers. comm.). No targeted conservation is in place for this species.

Citation: Meijaard, E. 2016. Rheithrosciurus macrotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T19474A22248783. . Downloaded on 24 October 2016.
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