MALAYAN GIANT SQUIRREL
- December 4, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Context: A first-of-its-kind study by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) under the Union Ministry of Environment, has projected that numbers of the Malayan Giant Squirrel (Ratufa bicolor) could decline by 90 per cent in India by 2050.
- The Malayan Giant Squirrel, one of the world’s largest squirrel species that has a dark upper body, pale under parts, and a long, bushy tail, is currently found in parts of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
- Destruction of its habitat could restrict the squirrel to only southern Sikkim and North Bengal by 2050, according to the ZSI.
- A large tree squirrel that is considered to be a “forest health indicator species” is disappearing, and may by the middle of this century no be longer found in the forests of India’s Northeast to which it is native.
- According to the study, the Malayan Giant Squirrel and its habitat are under threat from deforestation, fragmentation of forests, crop cultivation and over-harvesting of food, illegal trade in wildlife, and hunting for consumption. Slash-and-burn jhum cultivation in many areas of the Northeast contribute to destruction of its habitat.
- India is home to three giant squirrel species; the other two – Indian Giant Squirrel and Grizzled Giant Squirrel – are found in peninsular India.