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Rediscovery of Namdapha Flying Squirrel 

Context:

The Namdapha flying squirrel (Biswamoyopterus biswasi) has recently reappeared in Arunachal Pradesh after an absence of 42 years. The last documented sighting was in 1981 when a single individual was observed in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Namdapha Flying Squirrel: A Rare Nocturnal Species
  2. Namdapha Tiger Reserve: Key Points

Namdapha Flying Squirrel: A Rare Nocturnal Species

The Namdapha Flying Squirrel is a rare nocturnal flying squirrel species exclusively found in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Distinctive Features:

  • Distinguished from the red giant flying squirrel by the notable tuft of hair on its ears, setting it apart in the same ecosystem.

Concerns and Conservation:

  • Difficulty in locating this elusive species has raised concerns, leading to fears of potential misidentification or, worse, extinction.
  • Threats to the Namdapha flying squirrel include habitat loss and degradation due to activities like clear-felling for human settlements, shifting agriculture, and extraction of non-timber forest products, especially leaves of the rattan palm Zalacca secunda used for roofing.

Protection Status:

  • Listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, signifying a high risk of extinction.
  • Recognized under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022, emphasizing legal protection measures for its conservation.

Namdapha Tiger Reserve: Key Points

Establishment and Tiger Project Designation:

  • Declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1972, Namdapha Tiger Reserve was officially designated as the 15th Tiger Project of India in 1983.

Evolution of Protected Status:

  • Progressing from a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1972, it attained the status of a National Park in 1983.
  • Simultaneously, it became a Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger scheme in the same year.

Geographic Significance:

  • Named after the Namdapha River, originating from Daphabum, with “Dapha” referring to the hill and “Bum” signifying the peak of the hill.
  • The river flows in a North-South direction across the National Park, influencing its nomenclature.

Location:

  • Situated in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, Namdapha Tiger Reserve is positioned between the Dapha Bum range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai range.

Climate Variations:

  • Enjoys a sub-tropical climate with distinct variations.
  • Mountainous areas experience a climate typical of high altitudes, while low-lying plains and valleys encounter a tropical climate.

Biodiversity Conservation:

  • As a Tiger Reserve, Namdapha plays a crucial role in the conservation of the Bengal tiger and other diverse flora and fauna within its ecosystem.

Environmental Importance:

  • The reserve’s rich biodiversity and unique geography contribute to its significance in maintaining ecological balance and supporting various endangered species.

-Source: The Hindu


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