You are on page 1of 10

ISSN - 0972-0847

Columban J. Life Sci.

Vol. 12

No. 1 & 2

9-18

2011

STUDIES ON THE NESTING HABITS OF INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL RATUFA INDICA CENTRALIS RYLEY 1913 IN DALMA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, JHARKHAND, INDIA
Satya Prakash1,3, Anil Kumar Mishra2 and Mohammad Raziuddin3 1 Neo Human Foundation, College More, Hazaribag 825 301, Jharkhand, India 2 Hazaribag Wildlife Division, Hazaribag 825 301, Jharkhand, India 3 University Department of Zoology, Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribag 825 301, Jharkhand, India Email: nhfsatya@hotmail.com/mrazi.vbu@gmail.com Received 14 February 2011, Revised 17 April 2011,, Accepted 23 May 2011 ABSTRACT
We studied the nesting habits of Indian giant squirrel, Ratufa indica centralis in dry deciduous forest of the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary of Jharkhand (central India) during the months of February, March, April and December 2010. Nesting habits were assessed through observations on a total of 1452 dreys on 1244 plants in 2832 ha area (nest density = 0.51 drey per ha). R. i. centralis constructs large (up to 7560 cm) multilayered globular leaf dreys usually in the sub-canopy area of the nesting trees belonging to 59 species with a higher preference for Terminalia tomentosa and Anogeissus latifolia belonging to the family, Combrataceae. 41.05 percent nests were observed on plants belonging to this family. The squirrels showed a very high preference for nesting on deciduous trees in comparison to semideciduous and evergreen trees. Dreys are usually constructed on trees which have a height ranging from 30 feet to 70 ft. Maximum number (558) of dreys has been observed on trees belonging to 60-69 ft height class. The differences between average tree height and average nesting height were 5.61 feet.

Key words: Ratufa indica centralis, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Drey, Nesting. INTRODUCTION The Indian giant squirrel, Ratufa indica (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Sciurinae) found in the upper hilly regions of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary (DWS), locally known as Lepa or Larmusa, is a top canopy dwelling species. It is an exclusively forest dwelling, strictly arboreal species which only rarely comes to the ground (Ramachandran, 1988; Borges, 1989; Datta, 1993) and inhabits the deciduous, mixed deciduous and moist evergreen forests of peninsular India south of Ganges (Prater, 1980). It is listed in Schedule II of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Least Concern in IUCN Red List and listed in Appendix II of CITES, 2005. In the past, a number of studies have been made on the ecobiology of giant squirrels of India but majority of such studies relate to south Indian races (Hutton, 1949; Borges, 1986, 1993; Ramachadran 1988, 1991; John Singh and Joshua, 1991; Joshua, 1996; Umapathy and Kumar 2000; Jathanna et.al. 2008;
9

Srinivas et.al. 2008; Somanathan et al., 2008). Similar work on giant squirrels found in Central India are few (Dutta ,1993,1998,1999 ; Mehta,1994; Dutta and Goyal,1996; Rout and Swain, 2006; Kanoje 2008). Nesting habits of R. indica have been studied earlier by a number of workers (Lindsay, 1927; Webb-Piploe, 1946; Hutton, 1949; Krishnan, 1972; Thorington and Cifelli, 1989; Ramachandran, 1992; Borges, 2007; Kanoje, 2008). Although giant squirrel is common in Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, a survey of literature reveals that there is no published work available on their nesting in the sanctuary. This paper reports the first record of nesting habits of the giant squirrel, Ratufa indica centrelis found in DWS.
STUDY SITE

Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, notified as a sanctuary in 1976, lies between latitude 2246'30"N and 22.57'N and longitude 863'15"E and 8626' 30"E in the catchment area of Subarnarekha river and adjoining

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

NESTING HABITS OF INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL The average rainfall in this area is around 1400mm. The hot and dry weather prevails during March to June. The maximum temperature recorded during summer in the core area is 47C and 56C in buffer area and the lowest drops down to 3C in chilling winter. Within its limits there are 85 villages in the buffer area and one in the core area. Besides these, 51 villages exist along the periphery of the sanctuary (Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests Notification, 2011). The sanctuary is divided into 6 beats viz. Patmada, Chakulia, Dalma, bhadudih, Mango and Nutandih. Purulia district of West Bengal in Singhbum district of the Chhotanagpur plateau. It lies on the NH33, only 0-5km away from the industrial town of Jamshedpur and Chandil sub-divisional town (Fig. 1). It encloses an area of 193.22 sq km, the core zone consisting of 55 sq km and rest 138.22 sq km is the buffer zone divided into east and west buffer zones with the core lying in the middle (Datye, 1996). The sanctuary, famous for its elephant fauna, is a part of a hill range running south-east to north-west called Dalma Hill Range. It has an undulating terrain with high hillocks, plateau, deep valley and open fields between hillocks, providing diverse habitats for its flora and fauna. The average elevation of the sanctuary is 544m, the minimum elevation being 154m (Datye, 1996). The sanctuarys highest peak is at an altitude of 926m called Dalma top. Its flora system has been identified as Shorea Clesitanthus - Croton series (Gadgil, Meher-Homji, 1986) due to
Table 1: Details of the Study Area
Sl. No. 1 Beat Dalma P.F. Asanbani Area (Ha) 780.09 Study Area Pindrabera, Sorsabari, Nilbadi, Kulmari bunglow, Hatitopa, Chiyak Pathar, Barkabandh, Manjhlabandh, Nichlabandh, Rajdoha, Amdari, Snanghati Dalma Pahar Bijalighati, Bandhdih Road, Katasani

Khokhro 2 Chakulia Koyara Bandhdih

766.36

704.63 582.85

METHODOLOGY As the dreys of giant squirrels become conspicuous when the trees are bare (Prater, 1980), the present study on nesting of R. i. centralis was carried out in DWS in the month of February, March and April 2010. An attempt was also made to locate dreys in the month of December which did not yield satisfactory results due to dense canopy. Survey was carried out in four protected forests (P.F.) viz., Asanbani (780.09 ha), Khokharo (766.36 ha), Koyara (704.63 ha) and Bandhdih (582.85 ha) falling under Dalma and Chakulia beats (Table 1). Extensive survey for nesting habits of the species was conducted using line transect method (Javed and Kaul, 2002). Due to the hilly and undulated terrain, transects were placed in random and in piecewise linear fashion. While walking slowly, 50 to 100 m area was covered on sides of the trails. The latitude and longitude of the location of the nesting trees present on both sides of trails were recorded using hand held GPS (Garmin 72) unit. Photographs of the nests and animals were taken using DSLR Camera (Nikon Coolpix P90 24x and Sony Cybershot DSC-H9 15x). Standard binocular (Olympus 8x40) was also used for observations on the squirrel as well as in identification of leaves of their nests. Some abandoned dreys were also studied for their size, thickness and leaf composition etc. Tree height and drey height from the ground were estimated visually. The vernacular names of the tree species were recorded with the help of local personell, while their scientific names were ascertained from different sources (Dev, 2000; Mukhopadhya, 1994; Bresshers, 1935). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Four to five subspecies of Ratufa indica have been described (Moore and Tate, 1965; Ellerman, 1961; 10 Rajmani et al., 2008).

which it has been included as one of the locations for Indias Bio-diversity Conservation. According to Champions and Seths revised classification (1968), the forest of sanctuary conform to sub group 5B northern tropical dry deciduous forest and more specifically to sub type 5B/C1 (C) dry peninsular sal and type 5B/C2 Northern dry mixed deciduous forest. The forest is more or less leafless during the dry season.

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

COLUMBAN J. LIFE SCI. VOL. 12 (1&2), 2011

A closer examination of the morphology and colour pattern of live specimens in nature as well as preserved specimens available in DWS Interpretation Centre revealed that the features of giant squirrels of DWS resembled those described for Ratufa indica centrelis Ryley, 1913 (Abdelali and Daniel, 1952). Hence it is identified here as R. i. centralis (Fig. 2). Recently Sinha (2004) has also listed this subspecies in Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary. These are comparatively smaller than R. i. bengalensis, posses black patches on the shoulder and occasionally on the rump and black tails with small pale tips.Its distribution extends through Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Bihar (including Jharkhand) and along the Eastern Ghats (Abdulali and Daniel, 1952). R. i. centralis is an active, diurnal, shy and wary animal. It usually lives alone but sighting of pairs/ feeding groups (up to five) (Fig. 3) was also made in DWS. Nest
Fig. 2 . Fig. 3. Fig. 4. Fig. 5 - 6. Ratufa indica centralis. A pair of R.i. centralis. Globular drey of R.i. centralis Fallen drey of R.i. centralis 11

R. i. centralis construct large, multilayered globular (Fig. 4) single chambered nests or dreys of leaves and twigs which are used as sleeping quarters as well as nurseries. The drey size varied and the largest one observed was approximately 75 cm x 60 cm.

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

NESTING HABITS OF INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL

Fig. 7. Fig. 8. Fig. 9. Fig. 10.

Drey of R.i. centralis (arrow) in the subcanopy area of nesting plant. Drey of R.i. centralis constructed close to the tree trunk. Drey (arrow) of R.i. centralis hidden in the vegetation. Drey of R.i. centralis constructed on tree having no contiguity with nearby trees.

Fig. 11. Fig. 12. Fig. 13. Fig. 14.

Drey of R.i. cen tralis constructed in the mesh of climbers and finer twigs of the nesting plant. Showing R.i. centralis (arrow) using the drey. R.i. centralis feeding on Aegle marmelos. R.i. centralis resting on the thick branch of a tree.

12

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

COLUMBAN J. LIFE SCI. VOL. 12 (1&2), 2011


Table 2 :- Showing the number of nests observed on different trees at Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sl.No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 Nestling tree species Buchanania lanzan Spreng.* Lannea grandis (Dennst)Eng. Mangifera indica L.* Spondias pinnata (L.f.)Kurz.* Polyalthia cerasoides (Roxb) Bedd. Saccopetalum tomentosum Hook.f & Thoms. Holarrhena antidysenterica (L)Wall.ex.DC* Radermachera xylocarpa Roxb Stereospermum suaveolens DC Bombax ceiba L* Boswellia serrata Roxb.ex Colebr. Bauhinia retusa Buch.Ham. Cassia fistula L* Anogeissus latifolia (DC) Wall. Ex.Bedd. Terminalia arjuna Roxb.* T. bellirica (Gaertn) Roxb.* T. chebula Retz.* T. tomentosa Roxb* Dillenia aurea Sm. D. indica L. D. pentagyna Roxb.* Shorea robusta Gaertn. Diospyros embryopteris Pers.* Bridelia squamosa Gehrm.* Cleistanthus collinus Roxb. Croton oblongifolius Roxb.* Emblica officinalis Gaertn Mallotus phillipinensis Lamk.* Trewia nudiflora L. Casearia tomentosa Roxb. Careya arborea Roxb.* Litsea monopetala (Roxb)Pers.* Lagestroemia parviflora Roxb Soymida febrifuga A.Juss. Melia azedarach L. Albizia lebbeck (L) Benth Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb* Ficus cunia Buch. Ham ex.Roxb* Ficus infectoria Roxb* Ficus glomerata Roxb* Ficus religiosa L* Syzygium cumini (L) Skeels* Dalbergia lanceolaria L Dalbergia sissoo Roxb Ougenia dalbergioides Benth Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb* Adina cordifolia Hook.f.ex.Brandis Anthocephalus cadamba Roxb* Randia uliginosa DC Ixora arborea Roxb.ex.Sm* Gardenia latifolia Ait* Wendlandia exserta (Roxb)DC Aegle marmelos (L) Corr*. Micromelum pubescens Blume. Schleichera oleosa(Lour)Oken.* Sterculia urens Roxb.* Sterculia villosa Roxb. Symplocos racemosa Roxb. Laportea crenulata (Roxb) Gaud. No. of Plant 7 38 11 4 3 5 14 12 54 10 2 32 1 109 1 49 40 285 1 33 81 63 28 15 1 25 1 33 5 5 4 2 13 1 1 3 14 4 4 3 3 40 8 3 2 2 18 1 9 14 1 2 13 6 19 65 17 1 3 1244 1 7 34 10 4 3 3 14 11 54 7 2 31 1 86 38 32 229 1 26 62 61 26 14 1 24 1 32 4 5 4 2 9 1 1 3 10 1 4 1 2 33 8 3 2 2 16 1 6 13 1 2 11 6 17 59 17 1 3 1062 2 2 1 No. of Nest 3 4 1 5 1

1 1 2 1 20 1 9 8 52 5 18 2 2 1 1 1 1

2 2 1 1 1

3 1

3 3 2 1 6

2 3 1

2 2 6

164

11

* Host Plant

13

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

NESTING HABITS OF INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL


Table 3: Nesting trees of Indian Giant Squirrel at Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary. Sl. No. 1 Family Species name Local Name Type No. of trees 7 38 11 4 3 5 14 12 54 10 02 32 01 10 9 01 49 40 28 5 01 33 81 63 28 15 01 25 01 33 05 05 04 02 13 01 01 03 14 04 04 03 03 40 08 03 02 02 18 01 09 14 01 02 13 06 19 65 17 01 03 1244 Percentage No. of Percentage of tree Nest of Nest 0.56% 3.05% 0.88% 0.32% 0.24% 0.40% 1.13% 0.96% 4.34% 0.80% 0.16% 2.57% 0.08% 8.76% 0.08% 3.94% 3.22% 22.91% 0.08% 2.65% 6.51% 5.06% 2.25% 1.21% 0.08% 2.01% 0.08% 2.65% 0.40% 0.40% 0.32% 0.16% 1.05% 0.08% 0.08% 0.24% 1.13% 0.32% 0.32% 0.24% 0.24% 3.22% 0.64% 0.24% 0.16% 0.16% 1.45% 0.08% 0.72% 1.13% 0.08% 0.16% 1.05% 0.48% 1.53% 5.23% 1.37% 0.08% 0.24% 07 47 12 04 03 08 14 13 54 14 02 33 01 13 6 02 62 48 34 8 01 43 10 1 65 30 16 01 26 01 34 06 05 04 02 17 01 01 03 19 07 04 05 04 48 08 03 02 02 20 01 12 15 01 02 15 06 21 71 17 01 03 1452 0.48% 3.24% 0.83% 0.28% 0.21% 0.55% 0.96% 0.90% 3.72% 0.96% 0.14% 2.27% 0.07% 9.37% 0.14% 4.27% 3.31% 23.97% 0.07% 2.96% 6.96% 4.48% 2.07% 1.10% 0.07% 1.79% 0.07% 2.34% 0.41% 0.34% 0.28% 0.14% 1.17% 0.07% 0.07% 0.21% 1.31% 0.48% 0.28% 0.34% 0.28% 3.31% 0.55% 0.21% 0.14% 0.14% 1.38% 0.07% 0.83% 1.03% 0.07% 0.14% 1.03% 0.41% 1.45% 4.89% 1.17% 0.07% 0.21%

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

10 11 12

13 14 15 16 17 18 19

20 21

22

23 24 25 26 27

Buchanania lanzan Spreng.* Lannea grandis (Dennst)Eng. Mangifera indica L.* Spondias pinnata (L.f.)Kurz.* Annonaceae Polyalthia cerasoides (Roxb) Bedd. Saccopetalum tomentosum Hook.f & Thoms. Apocynaceae Holarrhena antidysenterica (L)Wall.ex.DC* Bignoniaceae Radermachera xylocarpa Roxb Stereospermum suaveolens DC Bombacaceae Bombax ceiba L* Burseraceae Boswellia serrata Roxb.ex Colebr. Caesalpinaceae Bauhinia retusa Buch.Ham. Cassia fistula L* Combretaceae Anogeissus latifolia (DC) Wall. Ex.Bedd. Terminalia arjuna Roxb.* T. bellirica (Gaertn) Roxb.* T. chebula Retz.* T. tomentosa Roxb* Dilleniaceae Dillenia aurea Sm. D. indica L. D. pentagyna Roxb.* Dipterocarpaceae Shorea robusta Gaertn. Ebenaceae Diospyros embryopteris Pers.* Euphorbiaceae Bridelia squamosa Gehrm.* Cleistanthus collinus Roxb. Croton oblongifolius Roxb.* Emblica officinalis Gaertn Mallotus phillipinensis Lamk.* Trewia nudiflora L. Flacoutiaceae Casearia tomentosa Roxb. Juglandaceae Careya arborea Roxb.* Lauraceae Litsea monopetala (Roxb)Pers.* Lythraceae Lagestroemia parviflora Roxb Meliaceae Soymida febrifuga A.Juss. Melia azedarach L. Mimosaceae Albizia lebbeck (L) Benth Moraceae Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb* Ficus cunia Buch. Ham ex.Roxb* Ficus infectoria Roxb* Ficus glomerata Roxb* Ficus religiosa L* Myrtaceae Syzygium cumini (L) Skeels* Papilionaceae Dalbergia lanceolaria L Dalbergia sissoo Roxb Ougenia dalbergioides Benth Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb* Rubiaceae Adina cordifolia Hook.f.ex.Brandis Anthocephalus cadamba Roxb* Randia uliginosa DC Ixora arborea Roxb.ex.Sm* Gardenia latifolia Ait* Wendlandia exserta (Roxb)DC Rutaceae Aegle marmelos (L) Corr*. Micromelum pubescens Blume. Sapindaceae Schleichera oleosa(Lour)Oken.* Sterculaceae Sterculia urens Roxb.* Sterculia villosa Roxb. Symplocaceae Symplocos racemosa Roxb. Urticaceae Laportea crenulata (Roxb) Gaud. TOTAL Anacardiaceae

Piar Doka Aa m Amra Pamkuroi Hookerichampa Kurchi/Karaiya Pondor Samkathal,Panrar Semal Salai Cheka kurul Amaltas Dhoi Arjun Bahera Haritaki, Harre Asan Roiruin Korkotta Agoi Sal Kanakend Kasai Kari,Kirla Putla,Putol Amla Garisinduri Bamugamhar Chunchu Astha Behnchi Sidha Rajni,Rohan Garneem Kathsiris Dahu Podho Pakar Dumar,Gular Peepal Jamun Chapati Shisham Panjan Bijasal Karam Kadam Lepsi,Pindar Lohajungi Po pr o Tilai Bel Eksira Kusum But kusum Kapsa nijra Lodh Lakaramuta

E D E D D D D D D D D E D D D D D D SD SD D D E E D D D D D SD D D D D D D D D D D D E D D D E D E D E D E D E E D D E D

* Host Plant

. -- D-Deciduous, SD-Semi-deciduous, E-Evergreen

14

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

One fallen new drey, made up only of Bauhinia vahlii (Local name Maholum) leaves, had a dimension of about 40 cm x 32 cm with 29 cm deep chamber with 16 cm inner diameter (Figs. 5 & 6). It had a flexible opening, 9 cm in diameter. The nests were usually constructed away from the tree trunks (Fig. 7), but about 5 percent dreys were located close to the tree trunks or on thick branches (Figs. 8). Dreys were most easily located during March andApril months due to leaf fall. As mentioned earlier, in the month of December due to dense canopy, nests remained largely hidden in the vegetation and were hard to locate (Fig. 9). Nest density calculated on the basis of total number of observed nests divided by total study area covered during the survey was 0.51 nest per ha. R. i. centralis construct globular dreys usually at the interlinking of crowns of neighbouring trees. This

COLUMBAN J. LIFE SCI. VOL. 12 (1&2), 2011 of finer twigs of the tree branches and climbers (Fig. 11). Dreys were constructed by depositing tender leaves of the nesting trees. However, squirrels also used the leaves of other plant species viz., Bauhinia vahlii, Butea superba, Spatholobus rouxburghii, Shorea robusta, Terminalia tomentosa in the construction of the nest. More specific study is required for knowing as to why some trees are used for nesting but its leaves are not used for nest building. Leaves were properly interwoven so as to give consistency and rigidity to the drey. Study of three old and one newly constructed fallen dreys revealed that the leaves were deposited in 7-10 layers in such a way that its inner layer becomes soft and cushion like. Local people also informed that the squirrel also uses a layer of cotton fibre of Bombax ceiba (Semal) to form a soft cushion over the bed of the drey.

allowed easy movement of the squirrels from the drey to other trees for their foraging and other daily activities. These observations are similar to those described by Ramachadran (1988) and Rout and Swain (1996) for Ratufa indica and Kaibad squirrel (Hall, 1981). A few dreys were also constructed on trees which had no contiguity with nearby trees (Fig. 10). In dense forest areas, about 60 percent trees were observed to be clad with climbers mainly Bauhinia vahlii, Spatholobus roxburghii, Butea superb, Ericybe paniculata and Porana paniculata. Dreys were also made in the thick mesh
15

R. indica has been reported to construct multiple nests (6-8) within its home range of which 2-3 are used simultaneously (Krishnan, 1972; Borges, 2007). They use the same nest for several years (Hutton, 1949). During the survey, a total of 1452 dreys and 67 squirrels were sighted of which only 9 were observed using the dreys (Fig. 12) while the rest were seen either feeding or resting on the thick branches of the trees (Fig. 13 & 14). Thus the number of drey was far in excess of the total sightings of the squirrels. This confirms the earlier reports regarding building of several nests by one squirrel.

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

NESTING HABITS OF INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL Nesting Trees Table 3 also reveals that 83.26 percent of the nests A total of 1244 nesting trees belonging to 59 species were constructed on deciduous trees (43 species), of 27 families (Table-1) supported 1452 dreys. 13.02 percent on evergreen (13 species) and rest Among these 73.35 percent dreys were new and 3.72 percent on semi-deciduous (03 species) trees. 26.65 percent were old. Further, 45.76 percent nesting In DWS, the squirrels thus nested significantly more plant species supported only one drey and the rest (83.26 %) on deciduous trees in comparison to semihad more than one (usually 2 and rarely up to 5) deciduous or evergreen trees. (Table 2). Multiple dreys were most commonly observed on Lannea grandis (Anacardiaceae); Tree height and Nest height Anogeissus latifolia, Terminalia bellirica, T. Table 4 shows the frequency of trees in various class chebula, T. tomentosa (family Combretaceae); heights on which dreys have been observed. It Bombax ceiba (family Bombacaceae); Dillenia
F ig. 1 6 Sh o w in g t re e h e igh t p refe re nce f or n es tin g b y Ra tu fa in d ica cen tra lis in DW S
700
t s e N f o . o N / ) t f ( t h g i e h e e r T

600 500 400 300 200 100 0


1 4 .5

5 58

413 280

110 3
2 4 .5

63 5
4 4 .5 5 4.5 64 .5 7 4 .5 8 4.5

20 2

34 .5

3 No . o f Nest

Clas s Av . Tre e h t.(ft)

pentagyna, D. indica (family Dilleniaceae); Lagestroemia parviflora (family Lythraceae); Artocarpus lakoocha (family Moraceae); Syzygium cumini (family Myrtaceae) and Sterculia urens (family Sterculaceae). The most preferred nesting trees were Terminalia tomentosa and Anogeissus latifolia, belonging to the family Combretaceae which supported 23.97 percent and 9.37 percent dreys respectively (Table 3, Fig.15). On the whole plants belonging to this family, including Anogeissus latifolia, Terminalia arjuna, T.bellirica, T. chebula and T. tomentosa, supported a total of 41.05 percent nests. Thus plants belonging to Combretaceae family can be regarded as the most favoured nesting trees. The other major species of nesting trees were Stereospermum suaveolens, Shorea robusta, Dillenia pentagyna and Sterculia urens which supported a total of 20.04 percent of the nests. The rest 38.91 percent of nests were supported by the remaining species of trees.
16

reveals that although dreys of R. i. centralis were observed on tree heights ranging from 10-19 to 8089 ft classes, they only occasionally selected tree heights less than 30 ft and more than 70 ft. Therefore, number of dreys on these plants was significantly lower. We observed 0.2, 1.38, 7.58, 28.44, 38.43, 19.28, 4.34 and 0.34 percent of dreys in 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 and 80-89 ft height classes of trees respectively (Table 4, Fig.16). From these observations it is clear that the most preferred tree height classes for nesting of R. i. centralis were from 40 ft to 69ft which altogether supported 86.15 percent of the total observed dreys. Tree heights less than 40 ft supported only 9.16 percent dreys while those above 69 ft had only 4.68 percent dreys. Percentage of dreys on different tree height classes thus represents the nesting preference of R. i. centralis at various heights.

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

COLUMBAN J. LIFE SCI. VOL. 12 (1&2), 2011

Table- 4: Showing tree height class intervals with number of drey, number of tree and number of old and new nest
Tree Height Class Interval 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80-89 Total No. of No. of Drey Tree 3 1 20 9 110 21 413 180 558 465 280 438 63 121 5 9 1452 1244 Old Nest 1 9 41 124 142 49 19 2 387 New Nest 2 11 69 289 416 231 44 3 1065

Bresshers,T. (1935).The Botany of Ranchi District, Catholic Press, Ranchi. Borges, R. (1986). Possible play between the Indian Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica indica) and the Common Langur (Presbytis entellus). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 83, 197. Borges, R. (1989)*. Resource heterogeneity and foraging ecology of the Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) (PhD Dissertation). Miami, Florida: University of Miami. Borges, R.M. (1993). Figs and Malabar Giant Squirrels in two tropical forests in India. Biotropica 25: 183190. Borges, R.M. (2007)*. The Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica Erxleben 1777) In A.J.T. Jhonsingh & N.manjrekar (eds.). The Mammals of South Asia. University Press, Hydrabad, India. Champian, H.G. and S.K. Seth (1968). A Revised Survey of the Forest type of India, Govt. of India Press, New Delhi. Datta, A. (1993)*. Space-use patterns of the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) in relation to food availability in Bori Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh, India. M.Sc. thesis submitted to Saurashtra University. Datta, A. (1998). Anti-predatory response of the Indian giant squirrel Ratufa indica to predation attempts by the Crested Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus limnaetus. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 95, 332335. Datta, A. (1999). Daytime resting in the nest An adaptation by the Indian giant squirrel Ratufa indica to avoid predation. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 96, 132134. Datta, A. & Goyal, S. P. (1996), Comparison of Forest Structure and Use by the Indian Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica) in Two Riverine Forests of Central India. Biotropica 28 (3): 394399. Datye, S.H. (1996). Ecology of Elephant of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Bihar-Central India. Ecology of Asian Elephant, final report, Bombay Natural History Society. (1987-1992) pp. 86-166. Dev. N.P. (2000). Management Plan of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary. Ellerman, John R. (1961). Roonwall, M. L. ed. Rodentia: variation. Fauna of India including Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. Mammalia. 3 (in 2 parts) (2nd ed.). Delhi: Manager of Publications. pp. 483884. Gadgil, M. & Mehar Homji, V.M. (1985). Ecology and Management of world Savannas. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, 1958: 107-113. GOI (1972). The Wildlife (Protection) Act, (1972), Ministry of Forest and Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, New Delhi.

The average mean height of the 1244 observed nesting trees in DWS was approximately 58.149 feet. The dreys were built amid small branches at a mean height of about 52.544 feet above the ground usually in subcanopy of the trees. The difference between average tree height and average nesting height was found to be 5.61 feet. On the basis of this information it can be concluded that most of the dreys were situated very close to the canopy which ensures protection of the squirrels and their young ones from their large predators viz., jungal cat, civet cat, leopard, snakes etc. ACKNOWLDGEMENTS Authors are greatly indebted to Sri A. K. Singh, PCCF-cum-Chief Wildlife Wa rden for his encouragement and continued support during the study. Thanks are also due to Sri S. Tripathi, D.F.O and Sri. S.E.H. Kazmi, C.F., Wildlife Circle, Department of Forest and Environment, Jharkhand for providing all logistic supports during the study. Special thanks are due to Sri B.R. Rallan, RCCF, Hazaribag for helpful discussion. We are also thankful to Dr. Suresh C. Jain, Department of Botany, St. Columbas College, Hazaribag and Dr. Amar Singh (member AFNC, Bokaro & Jharkhand State Wildlife Board), Department of Botany, J.J. Jhumaritilaiya for their help in the identification of plants. Thanks are also due to Dr. Saroj Kumar, B.V.Sc. & A.H, M.V.Sc (Animal Breeding & Genetics), Sri Murari Singh, IBCN Member, Sri Rajesh Kumar, Sri Ranjan Kumar (Botanist) and local personells for their help in manifold ways.

REFERENCES
Abdulali, H. & Daniel, J.C. (1952). Races of the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica). J Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 50:469474.

17

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

NESTING HABITS OF INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL


Hall, J.G. (1981). A field study of the Kaibab squirrel in the Grand Canyon National Park. Wildlife Monogr.75: 1-54. Hutton, A.F. 1949. Notes on the snakes and mammals of the High Wavy Mountains, Madura District, South India. Pt. 2- Mammals. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 48: 681694. IUCN. (2010). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 29 June 2010). Javed S. and Kaul R. (2002). Field method for bird survey. Indian Bird Conservation Network, Bombay Natural History Society. Jathana, D., N.S. Kumar & K.U. Karanth (2008). Measuring Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) abundance in southern India using distance sampling. Special editing: Arboreal squirrel. Curr. Sci. 95(7): 885888. Joshua, J. (1996). Interbreeding between grizzled giant squirrel Ratufa macroura (Pennant) and Malabar giant squirrel Ratufa indica (Erxleben). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 93: 8283. Johnsingh, A.J.T. and J. Joshua. 1991. Ecology of endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura in Tamil Nadu. Wildlife institute of India, Dehara Dun. Kanoje R. S. (2008). Nesting site of Indian Giant Squirrels in Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, India, Curr. Sci., 95: (7), 10 December Krishnan, M. (1972). An ecological survey of the larger mammals of peninsular india. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 32: 591-597. Lindsay, H.M. 1927. Mammals survey of India, Burma and Ceylon. Report No. 43. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 32: 591-597 Mehta, P. (1997). Leopard (Panthera pardus) attempting to prey on Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica centralis). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 94: 555. Moore, J. C. (1959). Relationships among the living squirrels of the Sciurinae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 118: 153206. Moore, J.C. & Tate, G.H.H. (1965). A study of the diurnal squirrels, Sciurinae, of the Indian and Indo-Chinese subregion. Fieldiana. Zool. 48: 1-351 Mukhopadhyay, M. (1994). Flora of Hazaribagh. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta. Prater, S.H., 1980. The book of Indian Animals. Bombay natural History Society, Mumbai Rajmani, N., Sanjay, M. & Nameer, P. O. (2008). Ratufa indica. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Verson 2009.2. Ramachandran K. K. (1988). Ecology and behaviour of Malabar giant squirrel, Ratufa indica maxima Schreber. KFRI research report: 55. Peechi: Kerala Forest Research Institute. Ramchandran, K. K. (1991). Ecology and behaviour of Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufa indica maxima) Schreber. K.F.R.I. Research Report, p. 55 (summary). Ramachandran, K. K. (1992)*. Certain aspects of ecology and behaviour of Malabar Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica (Schreber). PhD Thesis. University of Kerala, 191pp. Rout, S.D. & D. Swain (2006). The Giant Squirrel (Ratfa indica) in Similipal Tiger Reserve, Orissa, India. Tiger paper Vol.33: No,4 Oct-Dec 24-27 Sinha, Y.P. (2004). State Fauna Series 11: Fauna of Bihar (Including Jharkhand), Part 1: 1-13 Srinivas, V., P.D. Venugopal & S. Ram (2008). Site occupancy of the Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica (Erxleben) in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India. Special editing: Arboreal squirrel. Current Science 95(7): 889894. Thorington, R.W. Jr. & R.L. Cifelli (1989). The usual significance of the giant squirrels (Ratufa), pp. 212 219. In: Daniel, J.C. & J.S. Serrao (eds.). Conservation in Developing Countries: Problem and Prospects. Proceeding of the Centenary Seminar of the Bombay Natural History Society. Oxford University Press. Umapathy, G. and Kumar, A. (2000). The occurrence of arboreal mammals in the rainforest fragments in the Anamalai Hills, south India. Biol. Conserv., 92: 311319. Webb- People, C.G. 1910. Field notes of the mammals of S. Tinnevelly, S. India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 46: 629-644. *Not seen in original

18

PDF Creator - PDF4Free v3.0

http://www.pdf4free.com

Related Interests