World’s largest squirrel at risk in Bangladesh | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:43 AM, January 21, 2020

World’s largest squirrel at risk in Bangladesh

The Malayan species is found in China, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand

Among eight squirrel species in the world, Malayan, the world’s largest squirrel, is found in Rema-Kalenga forest of Habiganj’s Chunarughat upazila. 

It is the world’s largest squirrel, said Dr Mohammad Arefin Khan, associate professor of Forest and Environmental Science Department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, adding that if quick steps are not taken to protect the forest, the squirrel will be extinct one day.

Besides Bangladesh, it is found in China, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

At first glance, a Malayan may look like a monkey because of its long tail and big ears.

Its English name is Black giant squirrel or Malayan giant squirrel while the scientific name is Ratufa bicolour.

According to wildlife experts, Rema-Kalenga forest is the only habitat of Malayan giant squirrel in Bangladesh.

But its number has fallen so drastically that it is now not seen as much as before. It is now under threat of extinction due to tree looting from the forest.

It is now under threat of extinction due to continued destruction of natural forests.

The squirrel is now in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, officially known as The IUCN, Red List of Threatened Species.

Dr M Monirul H Khan, professor of Zoology Department at Jahangirnagar University, said “This squirrel is easily found in Rema-Kalenga forest. I have seen it recently.”

He further said an adult Malayan giant squirrel weights around two kilograms.

The squirrel makes its house on top of trees with leaves. It eats wild fruits, seeds and raw leaves.

Sylhet Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Abu Musa Shamsul Muhith Chowdhury, who was recently transferred, of Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Department said they cannot properly protect the forest from tree looters due to shortage of manpower.

He further said the squirrel is now in the Red List of IUCN. The main threat to Malayan is hunting and the wildlife trade.

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