Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Paralakhemundi Forest Department officials rescued a rare Indian giant squirrel from a hotel near Luhagudi square in Gajapati district on Sunday.

One person was arrested for keeping the endangered animal in captivity.

As per reports, Paralakhemundi Forest Department swung into action and raided the hotel after receiving information from honorary wildlife warden Subhendu Mallick about the animal kept captive.

The officials found an Indian giant squirrel in captivity during the raid. They rescued the rare animal and arrested one person.

Sources said, arrangements are being made to send the animal to the Nandankanan Zoological Park.

As per Paralakhemundi Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), “Investigation into the incident is currently underway. Stern action will be taken against the culprits as per the provisions in law after the completion of the investigation.”

Notably, Indian giant squirrel is a large multi-coloured tree squirrel species native to forests and woodlands in India. It is a diurnal, arboreal, and mainly herbivorous squirrel. The species is believed to play a substantial role in shaping the ecosystem of its habitat by engaging in seed dispersal.

As per wildlife experts, hunting and loss of habitat due to deforestation and degradation of the soil have forced the species to the brink of extinction.