Alarming population status of the Grizzled Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura (Mammalia: Rodentia: Sciuridae) in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, the Western Ghats, India

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Kiran Thomas
Paingamadathil Ommer Nameer


This study was carried out to assess the population of Ratufa macroura in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary located in the Kerala part of the southern Western Ghats.  The population density of Ratufa macroura was estimated to be 15.26 squirrels/km2.  The total count method, however, gave the population range between 11 to 14 squirrels.  The current population estimation is about 78–85 % lesser than the previous population estimation of the Ratufa macroura carried out in 1993 and 2007 respectively, which is quite alarming.  The following conservation recommendations are suggested for the long-term conservation of R. macroura, which include habitat restoration to maintain the canopy contiguity and regulation of the pilgrimage and the tourism activities in and around the R. macroura habitat.  Urgent steps should also be taken to undertake studies on the genetics of R. macroura.  It is also suggested that systematic and scientific monitoring of the population of R. macroura be undertaken on a regular basis.

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