Malayan Giant Squirrel could decline by 90% in India by 2050: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

  • IASbaba
  • December 6, 2020
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Malayan Giant Squirrel could decline by 90% in India by 2050: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Biodiversity

In news

  • 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

Key takeaways

  • 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.

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