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The Grizzled Giant Squirrel (GGS) Ratufa macroura (Pennant, 1769) is a ‘Near Threatened’ and endemic giant squirrel distributed in southern India and Sri Lanka. In India, the species is distributed in more than 10 locations between Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka in the north and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu in the south. A study was conducted in the riparian habitats of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala to understand the habitat characteristics, including the drey site use of GGS. The vegetation of the GGS habitat was studied using the quadrat method, and the dreys were counted using the transects. A total of 95 species of trees were identified from the riverine vegetation, and the GGS used 36 species of trees for drey construction. Most of the dreys were found on Mangifera indica, Terminalia arjuna, Ficus microcarpa, Diospyros ebenum, and Pongamia pinnata. However, the GGS may prefer trees such as Mitragyna parviflora, Diospyros ebenum, Ficus microcarpa, Albizia procera, Acacia nilotica, and Acacia leucophloea for drey construction. The study also highlights the usage of large trees with extensive crown by the GGS for various activities such as feeding, resting, moving, and nesting, thus signifying the necessity for protecting the remaining riverine habitat at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary to ensure the long-term conservation of GGS. We recommend an urgent restoration by restocking with already existing, native tree species of the riverine habitat due to the extremely poor regeneration of trees in the riverine habitat that support the only population of the GGS in Kerala.
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