A new site record of the Grizzled Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura (Pennant, 1769) in the Hosur forest division, Eastern Ghats, India and its conservation significance

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N. Baskaran
K. Senthilkumar
M. Saravanan


The Grizzled Giant Squirrel is endemic to southern India and Sri Lanka. In India it is distributed in isolated populations with less than 500 mature individuals, restricted mostly to patchy riverine habitats. We have recorded the presence of this species (minimum 14 individuals) across eight locations in Hosur forest division along the Cauvery riverine forest, north of earlier reported locations in the Eastern Ghats. The documentation of this species in the study area adds to our understanding of its distribution. These squirrels are canopy dwellers, hence discontinuous forest restricts their movement and dispersal. Measures including stop auctioning Tamarindus indica fruits on large scale for commercial purpose by Forest Department, restoration of habitat, maintenance of canopy continuity, reducing anthropogenic pressure and translocating squirrels from larger populations are suggested to enhance the long-term survival of this habitat specialist, which is on the brink of local extinction in the study area. We also suggest a comprehensive population assessment of the species to reevaluate its global status.

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