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The Malayan Giant Squirrel

News: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has projected that numbers of the Malayan Giant Squirrel could decline by 90% in India by 2050 and it could be extinct by then if urgent steps are not taken. 

About the Species: Malayan giant squirrel or Black Giant Squirrel is one of the world’s largest squirrel species. 

Conservation Status:  

  • IUCN Status: Near Threatened  
  • CITES: Appendix II.  
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I 

Habitat: It is distributed across Bangladesh, Northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. 

Characteristics:  

  • Features: It has a dark upper body, pale under parts, and a long, bushy tail. 
  • Food Habits: The species is omnivorous and feeds on fruits, flowers, nuts, bark, bird eggs and insects. 

Significance: The giant squirrel is considered as a forest health indicator species.An indicator species provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem and of other species in that ecosystem. 

Threats: Deforestation, fragmentation of forests, crop cultivation and over-harvesting of food, illegal trade in wildlife, hunting for consumption. and Slash-and-burn jhum cultivation. 

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