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Ratufa indica

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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: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-09-22
Assessor(s): Rajamani, N., Molur, S. & Nameer, P.O.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
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.

History:
1996 Vulnerable

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 is widely distributed, but occurs in several severely fragmented populations (Molur et al. 2005).
Countries:
Native:
India
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.
Population Trend: Decreasing

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

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).

Citation: Rajamani, N., Molur, S. & Nameer, P.O. 2010. Ratufa indica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 September 2014.
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