Grizzled giant squirrel scores a century in Chinnar sanctuary

Prelims level : Animal Species Mains level : GS- III
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The number of Grizzled giant squirrel has crossed one hundred in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, its only natural habitat in the State.
The latest survey conducted from February 12 to 14 recorded the direct presence of 76 Grizzled giant squirrel and including those indirectly noticed using scientific methods, its number has crossed one hundred.
The rise in number of Grizzled giant squirrel in the sanctuary was significant as the presence of the tree squirrel in the country was around 500.

Other habitats

Its presence is also noticed in the Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary under the Theni forest division in Tamil Nadu, Thiruvannamalai division, Anamala Tiger Reserve, Hosur forest division and the Kaveri Wildlife Sanctuary. Elsewhere, Grizzled giant squirrel, known by the scientific name Ratufa macroura, is mainly confined to the Central and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka.
The Chinnar sanctuary is known as its natural habitat, providing unique features for its breeding and growing. Its habitat is mainly spread on the banks of the Chinnar and Pampar riverine and along the streams joining the rivers. The largest concentration is reported near the riverine of Chinnar.


Its presence is seen mainly on Arjun tree, Indian almond, Palamaram ( Alstonia scholaris ), Java plum tree, Pongame oil tree and tamarind which are largely distributed along the riverine.
The survey was conducted in Chinnar, Champakad, Chunkam, Alampatty-Thoovanam, Vazhathura, and Karimutty as different blocks and in 21 transectlines based on riverbanks, streams and waterlogged areas.

Last year’s figure

In the survey held last year, the direct presence of only 68 Grizzled giant squirrel was noticed and there were apprehensions whether the number was on the decline in the sanctuary.
Grizzled giant squirrel is smaller compared to the common Malabar giant squirrel.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is one among the 13 santuries in the protected areas of the state of Kerala.
  • It is located in the Kanthalloor and Marayoor Panchayat limits in the Idukki District.
  • It is contiguous with the Eravikulam National Park to its South and is also under the jurisdiction of the National Park.
  • Kodaikanal Wildlife Santury is to its East and Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is to the north.
  • It is a prominent chunk of block of protected forests growing in the Annamalai hills in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.
  • The UNESCO World Heritage committee has been considering the Sub-cluster of Annamalai, the Western Ghats, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary for categorisation as World Heritage Sites.
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