Pakkamalai Reserve Forests Current Affairs - 2019

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Peacock Parachute Spider: Rare tarantula sighted for first time

Researchers have sighted critically endangered species of tarantula- Peacock Parachute Spider for first time beyond its known habitat in the Eastern Ghats. Its known habitat is in degraded forests near Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh. Recently, it was spotted in a cave in Pakkamalai Reserve Forests (in Eastern Ghats) near Gingee in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu.

About Peacock Parachute Spider

It belongs to the genus Poecilotheria. It is commonly known as Peacock Parachute Spider or Gooty Tarantula. It is endemic to India. It was sighted for first time way back in 1899 by Reginald Innes Pocock on the basis of a single female specimen in Gooty. It is considered as biological pest controller.

Threats: There is huge demand for tarantulas by collectors in the pet trade. There is an urgent need to protect them.

Protection status: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorised it as Critically Endangered.

 For the first time Grizzled Giant Squirrel Nests sighted near Gingee

For the first time more than 300 nests of Grizzled Giant Squirrel were sighted by researchers at Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee (in Eastern Ghats) in Tamil Nadu.

About Grizzled Giant Squirrel

  • It is a large tree squirrel in genus Ratufa (Scientific name is ‘Ratufa macroura’).
  • Features: It is an agile climber and is almost entirely an arboreal, very rarely coming to ground to escape from predators. It is smallest of all the giant squirrels found in Indian subcontinent,
  • Distribution: In India it is found in patches of riparian forest along Kaveri River and in hill forests of southern states-Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is also found in Sri Lanka
  • It is generally known to nest in foothills of Western Ghats ranging from Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary in Kerala to Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Palani hills in Tamil Nadu and in couple of areas in Eastern Ghats.
  • In 1988, The Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary located in Tamil Nadu was established to protect vulnerable grizzled giant squirrel.
  • Conservation status: It is threatened by habitat loss, poaching and is also in high demand in pet trade.
    • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List: Near Threatened
    • Listed under Schedule II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
    • Listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA),1972.