World’s largest squirrel at risk in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh
  • Wednesday, 22 Jan 2020

Top location: Malayan giant squirrels are arboreal animals, rarely coming down to the ground to forage. — The Daily Star/ANN

DHAKA: Of the world’s eight squirrel species, the Malayan giant squirrel – the world’s largest – is under threat in Bangladesh.

At first glance the squirrel, commonly known as a Malayan, may look like a monkey because of its long tail, big ears and two-tone black and yellow colouration, hence it’s scientific name – Ratufa bicolor.

Dr Mohammad Arefin Khan, associate professor of the Forest and Environmental Science Department at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, said that if quick steps are not taken to protect the forest, the squirrel could quickly go extinct.

Unfortunately, Sylhet Divisional Forest Officer Abu Musa Shamsul Muhith Chowdhury of the Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Department said that they cannot properly protect the forest from tree looters due to a shortage of manpower.

The Malayan’s numbers have fallen so drastically that it has been placed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List – classifying it as near endangered due to tree looting, hunting and the wildlife trade.

According to wildlife experts, the only place in Bangladesh that the Malayan can be found is the Rema-Kalenga forest located in the Habiganj district.

Apart from Bangladesh, it is found in China, Nepal, India and throughout mainland South-East Asia. — The Daily Star/ANN

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