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Ratufa indica 

Scope: Global
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Ratufa indica
Species Authority: (Erxleben, 1777)
Common Name(s):
English Indian Giant Squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel
French Écureuil Géant De L'Inde
Taxonomic Notes: There are four or five generally recognized subspecies which might be elevated to species level. Abdulali and Daniel (1952) reported eight colour forms of this taxon from its range in India. Ellerman (1961) listed five subspecies - R. i. indica (Erxleben, 1777), R. i. superans Ryley, 1913, R. i. bengalensis (Blanford, 1897), R. i. centralis Ryley, 1913, and R. i. maxima (Schreber, 1784). Corbet and Hill (1992) following Moore and Tate (1965) recognized four subspecies including R. i. dealbata (Blanford, 1897) a pale coloured population from Gujarat. However, recent surveys have yielded no sightings of this taxon in its range in Gujarat (Molur et al. 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-01-27
Assessor(s): Molur, S.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Nameer, P.O. & Rajamani, N.
Justification:

This species is listed as Least Concern because of its wide distribution, presumed large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, and it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to southwestern, central and eastern peninsular India specifically in the Western Ghats, Satpuras and Eastern Ghats, where it is known from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. It is seen at elevations of 180 to 2,300 m asl. It occurs in several severely fragmented populations (Molur et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
India
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):180
Upper elevation limit (metres):2300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Fairly common to locally common in areas where it occurs. Local extinctions and range restrictions have occurred, the current population is fragmented and remains in areas with limited suitable habitat (S. Molur pers. comm.). Although protected from hunting, there is still pressure on the species and it continues to decline due to hunting and habitat loss.
In Mudumalai Sanctuary, the mean density of this squirrel is of 2.9 individuals/km2 (Baskaran et al. 2011) and in Bandipur Tiger Reserve the mean density is 2.5 individuals/km(Jathana et al. 2008). Both areas are characterised by dry thorn forests or semi-open canopied woodlands.While in Bhadra Tiger Reserve, with deciduous habitats, has a mean density of 10.2 individuals/km2 (Muthodi) and 12.3 individuals/km2 (Lakkavalli) (Jathana et al. 2008)
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is a diurnal and arboreal species. It occurs in tropical evergreen, semievergreen and moist deciduous forests. The species is not tolerant of habitat degradation and does not occur in plantations. It is found to occupy high canopy (Molur et al. 2005). The age of first reproduction for a female is around three years, four years for a male. Age of last reproduction is about 12 years in the wild (older females observed with pups). The generation length is approximately seven to nine years (Renee Borges in litt. to Sanjay Molur 2008).
Systems:Terrestrial
Generation Length (years):12

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat degradation due to expansion of agro-industry based large-scale and small-scale plantation, monoculture plantation, clear felling, selective logging, construction of dam, hunting for local consumption have been observed to be the major threats for this species through out its range (Molur et al. 2005). It is being hunted extensively in the Eastern Ghats where new human settlements have been built. Population decline and habitat loss is at an alarming rate (S. Kolipaka pers. comm. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is included in the Schedule II (Part II) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is known from the following protected areas in India — Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, Gundla Brahmeshwaram Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Chimmoni Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Silent Valley National Park,Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra, Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) Wildlife Sanctuary, Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Mudumulai Wildlife Sanctuary, Sriviliputur Grizzled Giant Squirrel Sanctuary, Kallar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kulathupala Wildlife Sanctuary, Senthumani Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu (Molur et al. 2005). Survey, taxonomic research, limiting factor studies, monitoring and protection are recommended for this species (Molur et al. 2005).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.1. Small-holder plantations
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Abdulali, H. and Daniel, J. C. 1952. Races of the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 50: 469–474.

Baskaran, N., Venkatesan, S., Mani. J., Srivastava, S.K. and Desai , A.A. 2011. Some aspects of the ecology of the Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa Indica (Erxleben, 1777) in the tropical forests of Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, southern India and their conservation implications. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(7): 1899-1908.

Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. 1992. Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: a Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Ellerman, J.R. 1961. Rodentia. The fauna of India including Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. Mammalia, Manager of Publications, Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, USA.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Jathana, D., Kumar, N.S. and Karanth, K.U. 2008. Measuring Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) abundance in southern India using distance sampling. Special editing: Arboreal squirrel. Current. Current Science 95(7): 885-888.

Molur, S., Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B., Walker, S., Nameer, P.O. and Ravikumar, L. 2005. Status of non-volant small mammals: Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P) workshop report. Zoo Outreach Organisation / CBSG-South Asia., Comibatore, India.

Moore, J.C. and Tate, G.H.H. 1965. A study of the diurnal squirrels, Sciurinae, of the Indian and Indo-Chinese subregions. Fieldiana Zoologica 48: 1-351.

Thorington Jr., R.W. and Hoffmann, R.S. 2005. Family Sciuridae. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reader (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 754-818. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Citation: Molur, S. 2016. Ratufa indica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T19378A22262028. . Downloaded on 01 October 2016.
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