Heliosciurus undulatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Heliosciurus undulatus (True, 1892)
Common Name(s):
English Zanj Sun Squirrel

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-06-03
Assessor(s): Gerrie, R., Kennerley, R. & Koprowski, J.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Grubb, P.
Listed as Data Deficient in view of the absence of recent information on its extent of occurrence, ecological requirements, threats and conservation status.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is distributed in southeastern Kenya to northeastern Tanzania largely in coastal forest, although it has also been recorded from Mount Kilimanjaro below 2,000 m asl (Grimshaw et al. 1995), suggesting a wide altitudinal range. It is present on Zanzibar and Mafia Islands, but not Pemba.
Countries occurrence:
Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population abundance of this species is not known. During a short 8-day survey of the Kwamgumi Forest Reserve, Tanzania, no specimens were captured despite using four different trapping methods however a single specimen was given by a local resident (Stanley et al. 2005). An unreported number of the species were encountered in a coastal forest fragment, part a sacred site known as the Three Sisters Cave complex, Kwale district, southeast Kenya (Metcalfe et al. 2009).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This diurnal species has been recorded from coastal forest, lower montane forest and riverine associations where it nests in hollows of tree trunks and branches and feeds on seeds, fruits and occasionally insects (Thorington et al. 2012). A lactating female was recorded in July (Stanley et al. 2005).


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The coastal forests of eastern Africa are under threat from agriculture, charcoal production, uncontrolled fires, unsustainable logging, human settlement, and destructive mining practices. To what degree these factors have affected this species is not known. A total of 424 km² of coastal forest was cleared between 1990 and 2000; 53 km² in Kenya and 371 km² in Tanzania, remaining forests are highly fragmented and mostly in isolated patches of less than 5 km²  (Tabor et al. 2010). The restricted range of the Zanj Sun Squirrel is under serious threat of near complete (>95%) loss due to climate change and forest degradation (Peterson and Martínez-Meyer 2007). Despite local protection, the sacred Three Sisters Cave site (where the species has been observed) is still threatened by the needs of the growing local population. Cutting of trees for fuel and timber as well as coral block mining are common in the vicinity of the site (Metcalfe et al. 2009). The species is considered a pest in the cacao plantations of Kwamtili Estates and is regularly hunted for a bounty (Stanley et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The species occurs in several protected areas, including Jozani Forest in Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (Kenya). There was very little forest loss in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest between 1990 and 2000 and may be an important refuge (Tabor et al. 2010). A single specimen taken from a cacao plantation suggests the species can persist in similar modified habitats (Stanley et al. 2005).

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Citation: Gerrie, R., Kennerley, R. & Koprowski, J. 2016. Heliosciurus undulatus. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T9835A115095319. . Downloaded on 20 September 2017.
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