Malayan Giant Squirrel could decline by 90% in India by 2050: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Biodiversity
- A recent study by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has projected that numbers of the Malayan Giant Squirrel (Ratufa bicolor) could decline by 90% in India by 2050.
- Ministry: Ministry of Environment
- According to the ZSI, destruction of its habitat could restrict the squirrel to only southern Sikkim and North Bengal by 2050,.
- Only 43.38% of the squirrel’s original habitat in India is now favourable to it
- By 2050, the favourable zone could shrink to 2.94% of the area the species was meant to inhabit.
Important value addition
- The Malayan Giant Squirrel is one of the world’s largest squirrel species.
- It has a dark upper body, pale under parts, and a long, bushy tail.
- IUCN Status: Near Threatened
- It is protected under India’s Wildlife Protection Act.
- Found in India: West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
- Other Countries: Southern China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Burma, the Malayan Peninsula, Sumatra, and Java.
- It is found mostly in evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, from plains to hills at elevations of 50 m to 1,500 m above sea level.
Do you know?
- India is home to three giant squirrel species.
- The other two – Indian Giant Squirrel and Grizzled Giant Squirrel – are found in peninsular India.
- Unlike the nocturnal flying squirrels, giant squirrels are diurnal, but arboreal (tree-dwelling) and herbivorous like the flying squirrels.