‘Shekru’ count up by 8%: Census

Found mostly in forests of peninsular India, the squirrel, also called the Malabar Giant Squirrel
The Indian Giant Squirrel, or shekru.(Pune Forest Department)
The Indian Giant Squirrel, or shekru.(Pune Forest Department)
Updated on Jul 22, 2016 01:19 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

There has been an 8% increase in the Indian Giant Squirrel population , the state animal of Maharashtra, at the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary that is spread across Pune and Thane districts, a census found.

According to the annual count carried out between May and June,  2,145 Giant Squirrels were reported across 12,870 nests – 1,900 at Ambegaon, Pune district and more than 200 at Murbad, Thane — inside the 130 sq kilometre forest. Last year, 1,985 Giant Squirrels spread across 11,915 nests were counted in the area.

Found mostly in forests of peninsular India, the squirrel, also called the Malabar Giant Squirrel (ratufa indica) is about two-feet long — bigger than other squirrels — and has a long tail. They have been classified as endangered species, categorised under ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

“We are delighted that shekru (giant squirrel) numbers have increased and this points at more awareness and better conservation measures,” said Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forest, Pune. “The population estimation exercise is being carried out for the last 10 years and has allowed us to monitor and safeguard these animals.”

Limaye added that the survey is carried out either on the basis of direct sighting or the number of nests built by the squirrel. “The sanctuary was divided into 100 blocks and surveyed twice a day between 6am to 10am and 4pm to 8pm by forest staff. They counted individual sightings, nests and took global-positioning-system (GPS) readings of trees,” he said.

The Giant Squirrel nests are classified into four categories — in use (animals are living), under repair (where food is stored), abandoned and nursery (nest young ones). “Our department counts all nests during an annual survey. On an average, a Giant Squirrel builds about six nests, and on dividing the total nests counted by six, we get an idea about the total population,” said Limaye.

As a part of the survey, the forest department stressed on the need to safeguard large fruiting trees such as ironwood, mango, jamun (Indian blackberry), hirda or coconut palm. This is because these are the trees that the animals choose for their habitat.

 No state-wide Shekru count this year

As opposed to last year, when a state-wide Giant Squirrel count recorded over 3,000 animals across Bhimashankar, Thane, Sawantwadi, Ghadchiroli and Chandrapur, the forest department has decided not to carry out a state-wide survey this year.

“This year there was no call taken whether it should be done all across the state considering the major population is recorded from Bhimashankar itself. However, the state forest department is mulling over making the shekru census an annual state-wide count from next year onwards,” said Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forest, Pune.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Badri Chatterjee is an environment correspondent at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He writes about environment issues - air, water and noise pollution, climate change - weather, wildlife - forests, marine and mangrove conservation

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Budhram was as much of an icon in the area as this gateway.

    Delhiwale: Doorway to the unknown

    The gateway is bathed in the evening light with a beauty so tender you fear it might vaporise with the next heatwave. The elderly man who had been sitting under the gateway for many decades is no more. “He died before the coronavirus,” says Pinky. “Budhram was my father-in-law's brother,” A friendly middle-aged woman, Pinky informs. Budhram was as much of an icon in the area as this gateway. His establishment stood right under the monument.

  • Chitkara University was named an ‘Institution of Happiness’. (HT Photo)

    Chitkara University recognised as ‘Institution of Happiness’

    Chitkara University was recognised as an 'Institution of Happiness' at the Academic Excellence Conclave organised by QS I. GAUGE, the Indian subsidiary of UK-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), in Delhi. As many as 16 similar centres have also been set up at government health centres in Phases 1, 7 and 11, Mundi Kharar, Antala, Basauli, Preet Colony (Zirakpur), Baltana, Gharuan, Mazat, Mullanpur Garibdas, Chandon, Nayangaon, Boothgarh, Palheri and Khizrabad.

  • The AC mechanic in the custody of operations cell of Chandigarh Police. (HT Photo)

    Chandigarh snatching case cracked with arrest of AC mechanic

    The operations cell of Chandigarh Police has cracked the May 15 purse snatching in Sector 41 with the arrest of an AC mechanic. The accused has been identified as Wasim Ahmed, alias a resident of Palsora village, 27, Sameer. Police said on May 15, the victim, Neelam Sinha, a resident of Sector 46, was in the Sector-41 market, when a motorcyclist snatched her purse, which contained her mobile phone, and sped away.

  • The woman was taken to a private hospital in Ambala, where she was declared dead. (HT Photo)

    52-year-old woman hammered to death by neighbour in Ambala

    A 52-year-old woman was hammered to death by her neighbour after she hounded him to get his rickety shed fixed in Ambala's Saha town on Wednesday morning The accused, Krishan, 28, has been booked for murder on the complaint of son of the victim, Jagtar Singh, Memo Devi. Jagtar told the police that they lived next to Krishan's house, which usually remained locked, as he lived with his parents at a government school nearby.

  • The court of chief judicial magistrate Aman Inder Singh also slapped a fine of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>4,000 on the convict, Umesh Sharma, director of Punj Security and Housekeeping Services Private Limited, Dadumajra, Chandigarh. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Chandigarh: Security firm director gets one-year jail for not providing PF record

    A local court has awarded one-year rigorous imprisonment to the director of a Dadumajra-based security firm for failing to provide PF documents to the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for inspection. The court of chief judicial magistrate Aman Inder Singh also slapped a fine of 4,000 on the convict, Umesh Sharma, director of Punj Security and Housekeeping Services Private Limited, Dadumajra. It did not comply despite several requests.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 19, 2022