Flying squirrel babies reunited with mother

Our Correspondent

DIGBOI, March 20:  Two suckling babies of parti- coloured flying squirrels were rescued and later released at Saraipung Forest Village by a team of turalists headed by Rajiv Rudra Tariang of Digboi College on Friday afternoon.

The flying squirrels, scientifically called Hylopetes alboniger, fell from a tree along with a broken branch.

Gogul Tanti, a forest villager immediately called up Rajib Rudra Tariang, a wildlife biologist and Assistant Professor in the department of Zoology of Digboi College, who suggested to place them on the same tree. He also arranges to send Dr. Samshul Ali of WTI to the spot.

Following views from experts, the rescue team placed the squirrels back on the same tree, but they slid back to the ground. There was no sign of the mother.

Later in the afternoon, Tariang joined the rehabilitation team. Dr. Samshul Ali suggested to provide drops of electrolyte to the babies before they are released as they were found to be weak.

After feeding the babies and releasing them, the team observed them from a distance. The mother took the babies and vanished to the tree top.

The members  of the team comprising Deep Kr. Borah, Abhijit Boruah, Subhashis Arandhara of Aaranyak, Bijoy Panikar, Gokul Tanti, Dipak Das, Sume Bhowmick, Satan Majhi, Lal Tanti were all conservationist of Saraipung Forest Village under Digboi Forest Division accomplished a noble task successfully.

Tariang, while briefing The Sentinel about the creature, said that the parti-coloured flying squirrel Hylopetes alboniger is a protected under the Indian Wildlife Act. It is facing a threat due to habitat destruction.

This is an arboreal and nocturl species, found in tropical and subtropical montane forests, and in more temperate oak and rhododendron forests at middle to high elevations (1,500 to 3,400 m asl). Populations can be found in primary forests as well as secondary, degraded forests and scrubby habitat. Two to three young are born in each litter. In South Asia, the species is threatened by habitat loss due to shifting (Jhum) agriculture, small wood plantations, mining activities, infrastructure development, establishment of human settlements, construction of dams and forest fires. However, in certain parts of northeastern India this species is hunted for food.

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