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Distribution and relative abundance of giant squirrels and flying squirrels in Karnataka, India / Distribution et abondance relative des espèces d'écureuils géants et volants à Karnataka, Inde

Honnavalli N. Kumara and Mewa Singh
From the journal Mammalia

Abstract

We assessed the distribution and relative abundance of giant squirrels and flying squirrels in the state of Karnataka, India. Two species of giant squirrels, the Indian giant squirrel and the grizzled giant squirrel, and two species of flying squirrel, the large brown flying squirrel and the small Travancore flying squirrel, were found to occur in Karnataka. Indian giant squirrels and large brown flying squirrels were more widely distributed than the other two species. The distributional range included the forests of the Western and Eastern Ghats. However, their distribution was confined only to forests with tall trees. Indian giant squirrels and large brown flying squirrels occur in both deciduous and evergreen forests. Small Travancore flying squirrels occupied high-rainfall evergreen forests on western slopes in the Western Ghats, and the grizzled giant squirrels occupy riverine forests. This report of the small Travancore flying squirrel is the first of this species from Karnataka, and this population is the most northern population of its distributional range. Hunting was found to be a major threat, and influenced the abundance of all species except the grizzled giant squirrel. Hunting was primarily for domestic consumption.

Résumé

En Inde, dans l'état de Karnataka, nous avons recensé la distribution et l'abondance relative des écureuils géants et volants. Ainsi, quatre espèces plutôt abondantes ont été rencontrées: l'écureuil géant indien ( Ratufa indica ), l'ecureuil géant gris ( Ratufa macroura ), le grand écureuil volant brun ( Petaurista philippensis ) et le petit écureuil volant de Travancore ( Petinomys fuscocapillus ). L'écureuil géant indien et le grand écureuil volant brun sont plus largement répartis que les autres espèces. Ils sont en effet présents dans les forêts des Ghats orientaux et occidentaux mais seulement dans les forêts avec de grands arbres, à la fois en forêt persistante et décidue. Les petits écureuils de Travancore occupent les forêts toujours vertes à forte pluviosité des Ghats occidentaux, et les écureuils géants gris les forêts riveraines. Le petit écureuil volant du Travancore est mentionné au Karnataka pour la première fois: c'est la population la plus septentrionale de l'aire de distribution de cette espèce qui est surtout menacée par la chasse en vue de la consommation domestique, comme c'est le cas de tous les Sciuridae à l'exception de l'écureuil géant gris.


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Published Online: 2007-4-3
Published in Print: 2006-2-1

© 2007 by De Gruyter Berlin New York

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