Eupetaurus cinereus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Eupetaurus cinereus
Species Authority: Thomas, 1888
Common Name(s):
English Woolly Flying Squirrel

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2c+3c; C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-01-19
Assessor(s): Zahler, P.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. & Molur, S.

Listed as Endangered as it is very likely that Eupetaurus cinereus has had a reduction in population of 50% or more in the last 10 years, based on habitat loss in the region during this period (Hasan 2008, Rao and Marwat 2003). It is also possible that the species will continue to have its population reduced, perhaps by as much as 50% over the next 10 years, if further deforestation is not controlled. Much of this forest has been logged in recent times and estimates place the total extent of forest remaining in the entire northern areas in 2003 at about 2,800 km² (Rao and Marwat 2003), down by more than 50% in 10 years from over 6,600 km² in 1992 (Hasan 2008). Total population size is estimated between 1,000 and 3,000 individuals within the known range (Zahler and Woods 1997) and there is an estimated continuing decline of at least 20% within five years if current levels of deforestation are not controlled.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species was originally known from a few specimens collected in extreme northern Pakistan in the portion of Kashmir under Pakistani control and from northern Sikkim, India (Nowak 1999). The range possibly extends to China (Agrawal and Chakraborty 1969, Roberts 1977). Corbet and Hill (1992) report that two skins have been collected from Yunnan, however, the species is not reported from China by Smith and Xie (2008). The presence of the species in Sikkim, India as reported by Agarwal and Chakraborty (1970) is based on a single skin. However, due to the lack of osteological and other distinguishing characteristics of the species, and the lack of subsequent records from Sikkim, the distribution of the species in Sikkim is doubtful. Eupetaurus cinereus is currently known only from a very small region in northern Pakistan, in Diamer and southern Gilgit districts and (Zahler and Woods 1997) and there is currently no evidence that the species exists in India or other nearby countries.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):2400
Upper elevation limit (metres):3800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Until 1994 there had been no confirmed sightings of this species since 1924 (Zahler 1996). Pakistan the vast majority of recent sightings have been in Diamer and southern Gilgit Districts (Zahler and Woods 1997). Estimates in 1996 based on potential available habitat and local knowledge suggest a population in the core region of Diamer of between 1,000 and 3,000 (Zahler and Woods 1997). There is no current information available on the population abundance of this species elsewhere in South Asia (Molur et al. 2005).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Eupetaurus cinereus is currently known to live only in caves and crevices on steep cliffs in the dry conifer forest zone of northern Pakistan. This region was historically well-forested with blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), chilgoza pine (P. gerardiana), juniper (Juniperus sp.), and scattered deodar cedar, spruce and fir in higher and moister side valleys. It is bound in this region to between 2,400 and 3,800 m in elevation, as below this minimum there is only scattered dry scrub or arid rock desert and above this maximum is the alpine zone (Zahler and Woods 1997). It is strictly nocturnal, and dietary analysis suggests that it is highly dependent upon pine needles in its diet (Zahler and Khan 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by habitat loss due to large-scale clear-cutting of forests (Zahler and Woods 1997). It is also threatened to a lesser extent by expansion of agriculture, small-scale logging, infrastructure development, and human settlements (Molur et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Pakistan, habitat destruction was the most immediate threat to the survival of the woolly flying squirrel. The Wildlife Conservation Society has launched a community conservation initiative, the Northern Areas Conservation Project. This project is aimed at helping local communities protect the high mountain pine forest ecosystem that the woolly flying squirrel depends upon for its survival. The species is included in the Schedule II (Part II) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Surveys and monitoring are recommended for this species (Molur et al. 2005).

Classifications [top]

7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
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
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ 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 -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ 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:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

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

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Agrawal, V.C. 2000. Taxonomic studies on Indian Muridae and Hystricidae (Mammalia: Rodentia). Records of the Zoological survey of India 180: 1-177.

Agrawal, V.C,. and Chakraborty, S. 1970. Occurrence of the Woolly Flying Squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus Thomas (Mammalia: Rodentia: Sciuridae) in North Sikkim. Journal of the Bomaby Natural History 66: 615-616.

Agrawal, V. C. and Chakraborty, S. 1979. Catalogue of mammals in the Zoological Survey of India. Part 1. Sciuridae. Records of the Zoological Survey of India 74: 333-481.

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

Hasan, L. 2008. An anatomy of state failures in the forest management in Pakistan. MPRA Paper No. 6513. Munich Personal RePEc Archive.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

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.

Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.

Rao, A.L., and Marwat. A.H. 2003. NASSD Background Paper: Forestry. IUCN Pakistan, Northern Areas Progamme, Gilgit.

Roberts, T.J. 1977. The Mammals of Pakistan. Ernest Benn, London, UK.

Smith, A.T. and Xie, Y. 2008. A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Zahler, P. 1996. Rediscovery of the Woolly Flying Squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus). Journal of Mammalogy 77(1): 54-57.

Zahler, P. and Khan, M. 2003. Evidence for dietary specialization on pine needles by the woolly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus). Journal of Mammalogy 84(2): 480-486.

Zahler, P. and Woods, C.A. 1997. The status of the woolly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus) in Northern Pakistan. In: S.A. Mufti, C.A. Woods and S.A. Hasan (eds), Biodiversity of Pakistan, pp. 485-514. Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida.

Citation: Zahler, P. 2010. Eupetaurus cinereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T8269A12904144. . Downloaded on 27 June 2017.
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