Monday, June 27, 2011

Grizzled Giant Squirrel and Four Horned Antelope re-discovered

The grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) is a large tree squirrel in the genus Ratufa found in the highlands of the Central and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka, and in patches of riparian forest along the Kaveri River and in the hill forests in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states of southern India.The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the species as near threatened due to habitat loss and hunting.

The (GGS) is a previously un-recorded species for the Hosur forest division (HFD). Specific search for GGS was made by researchers of Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) after Mr.Ganesan former DFO of HFD expressed his deep conviction that this animal would surely be found along the riverine tracts along the Cauvery river. Sure enough, a number of nesting sites and a handful of individual animals have been recorded at various places by Dr.Bhaskaran, Saravanan and Senthil Kumar from ANCF through record shots of a single GGS in 2009.

Recently KANS member, Mr. Prasanna was fortunate to spot and obtain some good  images of the GGS.  Thus the GGS presence has been verified again.


Another species found in this region, the Four horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), also known as Chousinga is listed as vulnerable under the IUCN Red list of threatened species. It is usually found near to perennial water sources since it needs to drink water regularly. Its preference to dry deciduous forests has exposed it to a lot of biotic pressure from MFP collection and livestock grazing.

Both these rare species have discovered in the Urigam and Anchetty ranges of the Hosur Forest divisions during the year long bio-diversity survey carried out by KANS with ANCF along with the TamilNadu Forest department.

A recent Frontline article by Dr.AJT Johnsingh recently conjectured that the four horned antelope was probably extinct along the Tamilnadu side of the Cauvery.   A dead specimen was also
recovered a few years back from the Udedurgam area of the Rayakota Range of Hosur Forest division.

 It is a cause for celebration that they are found in good numbers with as many as 30 defecation sites spotted along the banks of the Cauvery river.  The four horned antelope usually a solitary creature is regularly sighted in the Hosur Forest division as small herds of upto 3 individuals.

Recently  Dr.Ravi Raja Singh, son of the late Mr.Raja Singh who was the DFO of these parts in the 70s, also a KANS member sighted FHA.

 Its a matter of deep concern that these bio-diversity rich areas are under pressure from cattle penning, fire wood collection and Minor Forest Produce collection . The current DFO, Mr. Ulaganathan has taken a positive step by creating checkposts at points of entry to GGS habitat.  He has stepped up vigil and posted watchers, which was not there earlier.

 However, villagers and city folks alike have found these forests to picnic and hold social gatherings. Loud music, vehicle horn, human presence and littering of plastic and beverage bottles have continued to disturb the last refuge of the GGS in HFD. 

The common Langur is nearly extinct in this range and GGS and FHA may follow suit. The cry of the hour is  to take immediate steps to secure the future of these endangered species by addressing the immediate threats posed by cattle penning and human disturbance.

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Blogger RAVI RAJASINGH said...

Aparna, the pic of the FHA you have displayed was taken by me near Rasimanal. This is a male FHA, i also posted a sub adult female with this pic in KANS website ( FB ). Some of us have seen the common Langur and we have heard the Nilgiri langurs @ Rasimanala on the Karnataka side of the Kaveri. Keep up the good work young lady , we have a very long way to go !

June 27, 2011 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Aparna K said...

Can you post the link or better still upload at KANS picasa here , I could not find the image in KANS fb

June 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger RAVI RAJASINGH said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 29, 2011 at 2:59 AM  

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