Sangareddy: In rare photographic evidence ever found in two Telugu states, a seasoned birder from Andhra Pradesh has captured an Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, called as Rekka Pilli in local parlance by native tribals, in Maredumilli Forest area in East Godavari district a week ago in his camera.
This is probably the first ever full photograph of the live Flying Giant Squirrel captured in a camera in both the Telugu States. A dead specimen of the Squirrel was found in Kawwal Tiger Reserve some 13 years ago. The birder, Jimmy Carter Polimati has got the rare chance to see the animal near a burrow and captured its movement too. Though it is called as Flying Squirrel, it actually glides down from tall trees, where it would live in holes.
The animal was found along the Godavari basin in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, and Chhattisgarh and also northern States, but it is hard to spot by the human beings since it’s a nocturnal animal. The Giant Squirrel, which lives in tree holes in high altitudes, hardly comes out of its habitation during the day times. Photographing the mammal is even tougher because not many zoologists or photographers were working on this area because of the Maoist movement along the Godavari basin. Due to a lack of encouragement by governments or any other agencies in documenting the movement of the animal is hardly carried out or studied about so far.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Prof C Srinivasulu, faculty at Department of Zoology Osmania University has observed that there was not much study carried out on nocturnal volant mammals and non-volant mammals in India. He has underscored the importance of carrying studies to study the presence and behavior of such rare fauna. Whatever the documentation of Giant Flying Squirrel was done in Anahdra Pradesh and Telangana until now, is opportunistic. The photographs or wildlife enthusiasts have come across these animals accidentally while they were doing some other studies or they were on a photographic tour.
The experts have observed that the fragmented forest and hunting of the mammal for local consumption, which is rampant in tribal belts, poses a serious threat to the existence of Giant Flying Squirrel. Jimmy Carter has urged the governments to carry out a study on this rare animal to conserve it. Carter further observed that the nocturnal mammal was suffering from cataract. He said the Squirrel was not moving quickly.
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