Mehta Prachi, Jayant Kulkarni, Tushar Pawar, Ranjit Kumar Sahoo, Evangeline Arulmalar and Girish Punjabi 2012. Status and Distribution of Malabar Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica in Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Wildlife Research and Conservation Society, Pune. Final Technical Report submitted to WWF New Delhi and Ruffords Small Grants Program, United Kingdom. pp74.
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Acknowledgements The Indian giant squirrel Ratufa indica is a widely distributed species, perceived to be of high occurrence and is included under the Least Concern category of IUCN. However, throughout its range, it is facing threats to its survival from habitat loss and persecution by local people. It is this concern that led us in to initiating an investigation of its status from the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Being declared as a Least Concern species, it did not fit in the investment priorities of many agencies making the task of finding support for the project difficult.
We are therefore extremely grateful to WWF New Delhi and Ruffords Small Grant Program, UK for believing in the need to carry out this survey and providing generous financial support for the study. We express our gratitude to Dr. Sejal Vorah CEO, WWF and Dr. Parikshit Gautam, Director, Small Grants Program from WWF and to Dr. Josh Cole and Ms. Jane Raymond of Ruffords Program for facilitating the grant for this survey. We thank Dr. Anjana Pant from WWF for coordinating the grant process.
We thank Mr. S.H. Naqvi, PCCF (Wildlife), Maharashtra State for issuing permission for the study. Our thanks are due to Mr. Anil Mohan, Mr. A.K. Saxena and Mr. A.K. Nigam, Addl PCCFs (Wildlife) for their encouragement and support. Excellent field support was provided by Mr. Kondal Rao, CCF (Pune) and Mr. Mohan Karnat (CCF, Kolhapur) during the survey in Bhimashankar and Koyna WLS.
The research team received wonderful co-operation from all Chief Conservator of Forests and Divisional Conservator of Forests during the survey. In the field, logistic arrangements were made possible with the help of Range Officers of all surveyed ranges so we thank them all. We thank the foresters, guards and watchers for providing required assistance.
Dr. Renee Borges’s name is synonymous with giant squirrel in Maharashtra. We thank Dr. Borges for reviewing the draft report, providing technical inputs and also for several insightful discussions we had with her at Bangalore and Pune on the subject.
We are grateful to Tushar Pawar, Ranjit Sahoo and Evangeline Arulmalar for their sincere participation in the field survey and helping in preparation of the data for the analysis. The occupancy analysis was carried out by Girish Punjabi and we thank him for his intensive inputs in the analysis.
We hope that information provided in this report will be used by the concerned agencies to plan appropriate land-use practices for securing the future of Malabar Giant Squirrel in its home state. Prachi Mehta & Jayant Kulkarni