Newsletter of the Rodentia, Insectivora, Lagomorpha & Scandentia Conservation & Information Network of South Asia--RILSCINSA, MM Animon, T Vellanikkara, KMB Arthur, MTR Babu

Content: Newsletter of the Rodentia, Insectivora, Lagomorpha & Scandentia Conservation & Information Network of South Asia -- RILSCINSA Representing the IUCN SSC Specialist Groups Rodent (RSG) Insectivora (ISG) & Lagomorpha (LSG)
Volume 3, Number 1
RILSCINSA - Members as of October 2003
October 2003
Dr. Mohammed Mymoon Animon Assistant Professor, College of Forestry Kerala Agricultural University Vellanikkara, Thrissur 680 656, Kerala
Dr. B.A. Daniel Entomologist, Zoo Outreach Organisation PB 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore 641004, Tamil Nadu
Dr. Soundara Pandian Kannan Lecturer/Scientist, Department of Biotechnology, A.J. College (Autonomous), Sivakasi 626124, Tamil Nadu
Ms. Binu Arthur Research Assistant, Zoo Outreach Organisation, 29/1, Bharathi colony, Peelamedu, Coimbatore 641004, Tamil Nadu Mr. T. Raveendra Babu Research Associate, AICRP on Rodent Control, College of Agriculture University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore 560065, Karnataka Dr. Ahibaran Singh Bhadauria Associate Professor, Department of Entomology, C.S.A. Univerisity of Agri. Technology, Kanpur 208002, Uttar Pradesh Mr. Samal Bhubaneshwar LB-65, BRIT Colony, Badagad Bhubaneshwar 751018, Orissa Dr. Renee Maria Borges Assistant Professor, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, Karnataka Dr. (Mrs.) Rina Chakraborty Scientist, Zoological Survey of India F.P.S. Building, 27, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Calcutta 700016, West Bengal Dr. Sujit Chakraborty Service, Zoological Survey of India, 'M' Block, New Alipore, Calcutta 700053, West Bengal Dr. Akshay Kumar Chakravarthy Chief Scientific Officer Regional Research Station VC farm, Mandya 571405, Karnataka Mr. Vipin Chaudhary AICRP on Rodent Control Central Arid Zone Research Institute Jodhpur 342003, Rajasthan
Mr. Suresh Ganapathiappan F-7, Rear Block, 657, Tristar Apartments, Avanashi Road, Coimbatore 641037, T.N. Dr. Thygarajan Ganesh Researcher, Asoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, 659, Vth `A' Main Road Hebbel, Bangalore 560024, Karnataka Mr. W.L.D.P.T.S. de A. Goonatilake Department of Zoology University of Colombo 03, Sri Lanka Mr. Mahmudul Hassan C/o. Prof. Dr. Anwarul Islam Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka Dhaka 1000 Dr. Mohammad Idris Training Associate, AICRP on Rodent Control, Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur 342 003, Rajasthan Ms. Nusrat Jahan C/o. Prof. Dr. Anwarul Islam, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh Mr. Jayahari Kerala Forest Research Institute Peechi, Thrissur 680653, Kerala Dr. Mike John Roger Jordan Chester Zoological Gardens Upton-by-Chester, Chester CH2 1LH, U.K. Dr. Justus Joshua Scientist, Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology, Patwadi Naka (Kachchh) 370001, Gujarat Mr. Kazi Ahmed Kabir Room No 806, Shahidullah Hall Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Mr. Ahmad Khan Conservation Biologist, C/o Pak-China General Store, Nishat Chorok, MugoraDistrict Swat, NWFP- Pakistan Mr. Mohammad Monirul Hasan Khan Service, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, House No. 3A, Road No. 15 (New) Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh Mr. Mohammad Safayet Khan Dhaka University, 471, South Monipur, Mirpur 222, Dhaka 1216, Bangladesh Dr. Ramachandran K.K. Scientist, Wildlife Biology Division, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Thichur district 680653, Kerala Dr. Ajith Kumar Scientist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornothology and Natural History (SACON), Anaikatty P.O., Coimbatore 641010, Tamil Nadu Mr. Arun Lakshminarayan New No. 124/Old No. 167 Race Course Coimbatore 641018, Tamil Nadu Dr. Gopinath Maheswaran Scientist, Bombay natural History Society Hornbill House, S.B.Singh Road, Mumbai 400 023 Mr. A. Manimozhi Zoo Biologist, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur Zoo, Chennai 600048, Tamil Nadu Mr. Khan Ayaz Mohammad Conservation Biologist, Irrigation Colony Shamsi Road Mardan- 23200, NWFP Pakistan .... Continued on the last page.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Dr. Iswar Prakash, Ph.D., D.Sc., FNA left for heavenly abode on 14.5.2002. He was 71. He is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters. Dr. Iswar Prakash, popularly known as IP among his friends and colleagues was born on 17.12.1931 at Jaipur. He was educated at Mount Abu, Pilani and Jaipur. He took his M.Sc. (Zoology) degree in 1952 from University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. He was awarded Ph.D. in Zoology from the same University in 1957 on Ecology of desert mammals under a UNESCO Project. He was conferred with D.Sc. degree on his thesis on Ecology and Management of Desert rodents in 1983 by University of Rajasthan, Jaipur.
After a brief instinct as a Lecturer in Zoology in Rajasthan Education Service (RES) and University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Dr. Prakash joined the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur as Animal Ecologist in 1961. CAZRI was his real "Karm Bhoomi" where he served for over three decades in different capacities and retired on 31.12.1991. Dr. Prakash has been instrumental in initiating an ICAR funded All India Coordinated Research Project on Rodent Control in 1977 and served as its founder Project Coordinator. The Rodent Newsletter, the only Newsletter/Journal on Rodents published from India was started by him, which is still in great demand from the rodentologists world over. Based on his outstanding contributions and leadership in the field of rodent ecology, Dr. Prakash was awarded the prestigious chair of Professor of Eminence from 1980-1991. He was solely responsible for establishing the discipline of rodentology on a firm pedestal in India. After retirement also he was so active and dedicated scientist that he got selected as Senior Scientist of Indian National Science Academy and continued as Professor Emeritus of DST funded project on small mammals of Aravallies at Desert Regional Station of Zoological Survey of India, Jodhpur. Dr. Prakash has done pioneering research on Ecology of desert mammals, Environmental Analysis and Desertification studies. In addition to his accomplishments on rodent research, for which he was referred as "Father of Indian Rodentology", Dr. Prakash was an authority on desert fauna in general having carried out pioneering work on insectivores, primates, chiropterans and carnivores inhabiting the region. During his stay in Birla College of Science, Pilani as a M.Sc. student, he was so much fascinated by the Indian desert gerbils, Meriones hurrianae inhabiting the sandy plains that he opted this tiny rodent species as his experimental animal and continued to explore its zoogeography, ecology, breeding, feeding, pheromonal communication, burrowing and other behavioural manifestations. His love for the desert gerbils has
Dr. Iswar Prakash, 1931 - 2002 made this species to be one of the most studied mammals of the world. During his professional career, honours and awards continued to chase Dr. Prakash. He was the recipient of prestigious Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Award of ICAR for the biennium 1974-75 and the Harswarup Memorial Award of INSA in 1990. He has also been elected Fellow of INSA and a foreign Fellow of International Theriological Society. He had the distinction of being invited to serve on a number of National and International Committees, viz., UGC, ICAR, DST, ICMR, Planning Commission, Wildlife Institute of India, MAB Committee, Ministry of Environment, FAO/DANIDA panel etc. A prodigiously hard working man, Dr. Prakash has over 500 research publications to his credit. He had authored/ edited several books published by world renowned publishers, like Dr. W Junk of The Hague, Arnod Heinmann, CRC, ICAR, etc. Dr. Prakash was a widely traveled scientist. In pursuance of the knowledge of Mammalian Ecology of Thar Desert, he visited several countries as far away as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Thailand, Philippines, U.K., France, China, USSR, Kuwait and Italy. Dr. Prakash had his own way of winning friends and influencing people by the charm of his innate calm and pedigreed manners. He was a combination of an eminent scientist, a great administrator and a perfect gentleman. He willl always be remembered not only by those who had the priviledge working with him but also by those who had ever corresponded with him. Due to his sudden demise, the scientific world has lost a great environmentalist. May the Almighty grant peace to the departed soul. From : AICRP on Rodent Control, CAZRI, Jodhpur-342 003, Rajasthan.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
NVSM (Non-volant Small Mammals) C.A.M.P. / G.M.A. Announcement
The long-pending C.A.M.P workshop for Selected Groups of Non-volant Small Mammals of South Asia has been confirmed and will be held from 9-13 February 2004. The C.A.M.P. will collaborate with the Global Mammal Assessment (GMA). The Global Mammal Assessment itself is a collaborative effort between the SSC mammal-related Specialist Groups and partner institutions. The data collected will be continually updated as part of the Species Information Service. It is expected that the GMA will take two years to complete, but it is hoped that by April 2004, there will be sufficient information to allow a comparative analysis of the conservation status of mammals, birds, and amphibians. In 2000 CBSG, South Asia, DAPTF, South Asia, CBSG, South Asia, ZOO and WILD ran a C.A.M.P. / G.A.A. for South Asian Amphibians along the same lines. The venue is in Combatore at the Karl Kьbel Institute for Developmental Studies in Anaikatti where invitees from outstation will stay throughout the workshop. Background: Mammal C.A.M.P.,1997: Under the auspices of the Biodiversity conservation Prioritisation Project (BCPP) more than 100 non-volant small mammals were assessed, but due to the large number of mammals (400 +) to be covered, and the skewed proportion of large as opposed to small mammal specialists, there were a large number of Data Deficient species. With this workshop, we want to improve that assessment as was recently done for Chiroptera where over 50% DD species became 9% with assiduous work to collect information. Because of space, time and budgetary constraints, we have to limit the number of people who we can accomodate at the workshop itself. As you know, if there are too many people at such workshops, our ability to complete the workshop within the time frame gets compromised. Thus participants for attending will be prioritised on the basis of amount and type of information they possess, on species and regions represented and on rarity of species. Researchers whom we are unable to accomodate or for their own reasons are unable to attend will be invited as external participants. They will have full participant status and information they supply by post on Biological Information Sheets and get credit for what they contribute. If you have colleagues who are not members of the RILSCINSA network, and have recently carried out small mammal studies please request them to write to us describing their work so we can consider them for the workshop. Researchers who study small carnivores also often find useful information in scat studies for rodents, etc. and are welcome to contribute if they can identify the species represented in the scat. We have enclosed a copy of the Draft checklist of species in the orders we plan to cover. Please take this as a Draft, as a C.A.M.P. workshop always leaves final decisions about species lists to participants at the workshop. This checklist was prepared by Dr. P. O. Nameer, Forestry Professor, at Kerala Agricultural University, who prepared the book Mammals of India and had prepared the checklist for the
1997 BCPP C.A.M.P. for Mammals and has now prepared for South Asia. This checklist is included, along with C.A.M.P. / G.M.A. information in this issue of Rat-a-tattle. There are other people working on checklists which include subspecies and some of these will be published in ZOOS' PRINT Journal (Murids will come in December issue). We have included all C.A.M.P. information in the newsletter because we hope to inspire some researchers to contribute information for this initiative to us via Biological Information sheets (BIS). A BIS is enclosed along with instructions for filling it out. We also require historical locality information from museum collections and old records. A format for recording such information is included in this issue also. A fresh BIS is required for every species. For locality information you can list each entry separately. If you require more sheets, please xerox the from in this copy of the magazine. Again, if your information is used in the C.A.M.P. workshop you will be given external participant status, credited in the taxon data sheet and given a free copy of the Report. Regarding the Biological Information Sheets, we would like to emphasize their importance. The information you send will be evaluated and entered into a database, a printout of which will be given to participants who attend the workshop. In small working groups you can discuss and decide what information should be retained in the data base and how it should be organised. In this way we will save a lot of time, and further discussion of each species will be more detailed and fruitful. For the G.M.A., much emphasis is given to mapping in which accurate location information is an absolute requirement -- coordinates, if available and location name, including the taluk, district and state of the location. On the basis of the discussion of people who have studied and are sure of their identification of the species and its locality, workshop participants will assist Sanjay Molur, Red List Advisor, to derive an IUCN Red List Category and this will be submitted officially to the IUCN SSC Specialist Group Chairs, all of whom will be present, to review for use in their recommendations for next IUCN SSC Red List of Threatened Species. The C.A.M.P. workshop is being coordinated by Sally Walker, Administrator, RILSCINSA and Sanjay Molur, Red List Advisor who are also associated with CBSG, South Asia, RSG, South and East Asia, ZOO and WILD and the whole ZOO/WILD team. For the GMA component, described in more detail separately, project coordination is being carried out by a team comprising Dr. Wes Sechrest, at the CI/CABS - IUCN/SSC Biodiversity Assessment Initiative in Washington, DC, Dr. Jonathan Baillie at the Zoological Society of London, and Dr. Mariano GimenezDixon at IUCN headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. This is an important exercise. As much as 30-35% of the mammalian diversity of South Asia will be assessed in this workshop. It is an opportunity to call attention to this neglected group of mammals which provide crucial services for ecosystems and make up so much of the mammal diversity of the earth.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Using Mammals to Pioneer New Approaches to Identifying Conservation Priorities : The Global Mammal Assessment (G.M.A.) and the IUCN Species Survival Commission
Mammals are one of the most important groups of species on earth in terms of evolution, ecology and economic impact. They occupy nearly all of the planet's ecosystems and play critical roles in ecosystem dynamics, including as predators and keystone species. Mammals figure prominently in basic ecological and evolutionary research, and as flagship species they are the centerpieces of significant work in conservation science.
1.5 Key techniques and policies for the conservation of biodiversity developed and disseminated 1.6 Selected multilateral environmental agreements and national agencies supported through the provision of information on the status and conservation of species 1.7 Spatial information on species integrated to support biodiversity conservation priority-setting, planning and management
Although a great deal is known about mammalian biology, systematics, distribution patterns and conservation status, this knowledge is neither uniform nor complete. Moreover, of the more than 5,000 mammal species known worldwide, the threat status of more than 2,500 is insufficiently known or inadequately documented. The goal of the Global Mammal Assessment (GMA) is to consolidate available information on the systematics, distribution, ecology and conservation status of mammals. For the first time, mammal biodiversity data will be available to a) determine the total set of threatened species occurring in a particular region or hotspot; b) identify the necessary conservation interventions; and c) establish a baseline against which the success of conservation actions can be measured. The G.M.A. is part of a larger IUCN Species Survival Commission portfolio with the overall long-term objective of producing relevant and accessible biodiversity assessments and analysis tools to enhance conservation and sustainable development decision making. The Global Mammal Assessment will review the status of all species of mammals focusing on mapping geographic distributions, assessing the degree of threat, and recording essential habitats and important threats for each species.
Objective 2: Modes of production and consumption that promote the conservation of biodiversity adopted by users of natural resources. SSC Strategic Plan outputs: 2.2 Tools developed to assist decision makers in managing natural resources sustainably 2.3 Decisions on use of natural resources increasingly based on sound scientific information provided by SSC Objective 3: Capacity increased to provide timely, innovative and practical solutions to conservation problems SSC Strategic Plan outputs: 3.2 Management capacity and performance of Specialist Groups improved 3.3 Internal and external access provided to SSC publications, products and lessons learned 3.4 Species Information Service fully operational and data added on an ongoing basis 3.5 Capacity of IUCN members to use SSC products and tools increased 3.6 Awareness of SSC authority on global biodiversity enhanced 3.7 Knowledge, expertise and surveillance on emerging issues improved The data gathered will be kept within the SSC Species Information Service (SIS); it is a way to jump-start dataacquisition capabilities for the mammal-related Specialist Groups. Thus, the data incorporated in this project, will go back to the SSC Specialist Groups to be maintained, managed, and continually updated.
The project is in line with the IUCN 2000-2004 Programme Key Result Area (KRA) 5: Assessment of Biodiversity and of related social and economic factors; and KRA 6: Information Management and Communications Systems. The project is also directed to the implementation of all three Objectives of the SSC Strategic Plan. Furthermore the proposal contributes to the outputs listed below (per Objective of the SSC Strategic Plan) Objective 1: Decisions and policies affecting biodiversity influenced by sound interdisciplinary scientific information. SSC Strategic Plan outputs:
The Global Mammal Assessment works synergistically with a Conservation Assessment and Management Plan, each providing breadth and depth of approach which is not complete in the other. The South Asian Non-Volant Small Mammal C.A.M.P. is the second attempt at combining these two dynamic processes, the first being the Global Amphibian Assessment (G.A.A.) and South Asian Amphibian C.A.M.P. held in Coimbatore in 2002. The experience and out put promise to be exciting, exhausting and effective.
1.1 Status of biodiversity measured by indicators derived from the Red List 1.3 Status of key taxonomic groups assessed 1.4 Impacts of key threats to biodiversity assessed
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P.) Description
Wildlife ­ both flora and fauna ­ is in crisis today. Reduction and fragmentation of wildlife populations and their habitats are occurring at a rapid and accelerating rate. The results for an increasing number of taxa are small and isolated populations that are at risk of extinction. For these populations to survive and recover, intensive management is urgently required : habitat management and restoration, intensified information gathering, captive breeding as well as other actions. The problems for wildlife are so vast that it is imperative to protect and manage it as efficiently and effectively as possible. Conservation Assessment and Management Plans (or C.A.M.P.s) have been developed and continue to evolve in response to this need. CBSG Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P.) Workshops CBSG C.A.M.P. Workshops are intended to provide strategic guidance for application of intensive management and information collection techniques to threatened taxa. CBSG C.A.M.P. workshops provide a rational and comprehensive means of assessing priorities for intensive management within the context of the broader conservation needs of threatened taxa. A C.A.M.P. process brings together 10-50 experts (e.g., field biologists, wildlife managers, Specialist Group members, scientists from the academic community and/or the private sector, land owners, and captive managers) to evaluate the threat status of all taxa in a broad group, country, or geographic region to set conservation action and informationgathering priorities. IUCN Red List Categories 2001 The New IUCN Red List Categories provide a system that facilitates comparisons across widely different taxa, and is based both on population and distribution criteria. These criteria can be applied to any taxonomic unit at or below the species level, with sufficient range among the different criteria to enable the appropriate listing of taxa from the complete spectrum of taxa, with the exception of microorganisms. The 2000 revisions include guidelines for national and regional assessments, increasing their utility at this level. The new IUCN Red List Categories are Extinct (EX), Extinct in the Wild (EW), Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), Near Threatened (NT), Least Concern (LC), Data Deficient (DD) and Not Evaluated (NE). The C.A.M.P. Process The C.A.M.P. process itself is intensive and interactive and is unique in its ability to facilitate objective and systematic prioritization of research and management actions needed for species conservation, both in situ and ex situ. Participants develop assessments of risk and formulate recommendations for action using a computerized data entry Programme developed by CBSG to record information systematically.
During a C.A.M.P. process, the wild and captive status for each taxon under consideration are reviewed, on a taxonby-taxon basis. For each taxon, there is an attempt to estimate the total population. It is often very difficult, even agonizing, to be numerate because so little quantitative data on population sizes and distribution exists. However, it is frequently possible to provide order-of-magnitude estimates, especially whether the total population is greater or less than the numerical thresholds for the population data used in determining categories of threat. C.A.M.P. data base includes a "data quality" column so that "guesstimates" can be distinguished from population estimates based on solid documentation. Information about population fragmentation and trends, distribution, as well as habitat changes and environmental stochasticity also are considered. The C.A.M.P. process attempts to be as quantitative or numerate as possible for two major reasons: 1. Action plans ultimately must establish numerical objectives for population sizes and distribution if they are to be viable. 2. Numbers provide for more objectivity, less ambiguity, more comparability, better communication and hence better cooperation. For each taxon reviewed, three kinds of assessment/ recommendations are made: 1) assigning taxa to New IUCN Red List Category of Threat; 2) making recommendations for research and management activities to contribute to the taxon's conservation. 3) making recommendations for captive programmes if they can contribute to the conservation of the taxon Participants of C.A.M.P. workshops report that they are stimulated by the group interaction and are able to produce more information than they could remember on their own. It is possible that the group dynamic produces an incremental effect ­ that the small bits of information held by individuals would be of negligible value taken by themselves, but combined with other pieces of information held by other group members and discussed, add up to respectable data. Dynamic discussion between peers ­ which may be friendly or argumentative ­ produces a very different output or conclusion than the opinion of one person. Finally, information about habitat as well as impending or future threats, is convenient to collect from people who live in or near the area. The Review Process for C.A.M.P.s The results of the Initial C.A.M.P. process are reviewed: 1) by distribution to the workshop participants for minor corrections and additions of information, such as sources; 2) by distribution of a Report to C.A.M.P. participants, wildlife managers, academic institutions and international organizations. After three to five years, a C.A.M.P. Review is conducted with improved information, additional field biologists and the benefit of the earlier C.A.M.P. lacunae and strengths as a guide. CBSG, India conducted a series of C.A.M.P.s for Mammals, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mangrove
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
species, medicinal plants, Freshwater Fishes, selected soil invertebrates etc. in 1997 for India. In 2002 we have conducted C.A.M.P. reviews for subsets of some of these taxonomic groups, such as separate C.A.M.P.s for primates and bats, and now for non-volant small mammals. Unlike the 1997 C.A.M.P.s which were national workshops for India, these reviews include all countries of South Asia. Thus C.A.M.P.s are not single events or "one offs". Instead, they are part of a continuing and evolving process of developing conservation and recovery plans for the taxa involved. The C.A.M.P. process is unique in its ability to prioritize intensive management action for species conservation, providing a framework for intensive management in the wild and in captivity. C.A.M.P. documents can be used as guidelines by national and regional wildlife agencies as well as regional captive breeding programs as they develop their own action plans. The long-term impact of the C.A.M.P. process on global priority setting has the potential to be profound. Within the near future, wildlife and zoo animal managers will have a set of comprehensive documents at their disposal, collaboratively and scientifically developed by the experts on the taxon or region, establishing priorities for global and regional species management and conservation. It is the intent that the C.A.M.P. process will ultimately contribute to the wise worldwide use of limited resources for species conservation.
There are several ground rules made explicit at the beginning of a C.A.M.P. process which are intended to aid in facilitation of the workshop. These ground rules have been developed by persons experienced in group dynamics and, in the case of a C.A.M.P. workshop, assist greatly in information gathering and achieving group bonding and consensus. Working Group Tasks: the C.A.M.P. Taxon Data Sheets In each working group, several people have very specific tasks : 1) the group facilitator who keeps the group on track and on time; 2) the data recorders (one for the computer and one to take down information on data sheets); 3) the Researcher, who is responsible for looking up information in books and references. Data Sheet information should be checked as each is completed to be sure that all data have been recorded. Working group facilitators may be designated by the C.A.M.P. facilitators and organizers. Each participant is given a list of taxa before the workshop to check for spelling, correctness and completeness. Issues of nomenclature and taxonomy can be raised at the workshop, which is discussed even before forming working groups. After the list and workshop objective has been agreed working group participants begin to systematically work through the questions and prepare an electronic copy and a hand-written copy, which forms the basis of the assessments.
C.A.M.P. Philosophy, Procedure and Ground Rules
By signing the Rio Convention, South Asian countries agreed to prioritise their species and sites and develop strategies for conservation of biodiversity. In order to prioritise species, one needs a good idea of their status, distribution, rate of growth or decline, threats, etc. For many, many species, however, we don't know much. We certainly don't have the kind of information required to make a definite status statement. Many species have not been studied for years, decades, maybe even a century. What to do for this ? Ideally, all species in a country, or region and in the world should be surveyed systematically. Systematic surveys require manpower, money, time,etc. lf we wait for systematic surveys, surely some of the species will become extinct while we wait. We need to make a start, at least. Comprehensive taxon status reports in the past, such as Red Data Books, have been criticised for errors. Errors are bound to occur, particularly when one specialist or one institution attempts to collect status information about species by post, from museum specimens, from scattered and out-of-date literature ... there are gaps in information, individual or institutional bias, etc. We need a method in which all individuals and institutions which are doing work on the taxa can be represented, and thereby share in the responsibility -- both the responsibility for contributing to the Report as well as the responsibility for rectifying
information gaps. Taxon status reports, whether they are Red Data books or some other method should reflects a consensus by specialists and other stakeholders in the country. The C.A.M.P. Process was developed as a dynamic organising force for conservation in order to respond to this very need for basic information and consensus. The C.A.M.P. Process provides two unique items : 1. an objective workshop environment, 2. a neutral facilitation process The objective workshop environment is achieved by insuring that all individuals and institutions participating in the workshop have an equal chance to contribute, and attempting to settle disagreements by conflict resolution and consensus. This is accomplished by facilitation. Trained and experienced facilitators will guide participants through the workshop so as to garner the most information in the time allotted. Facilitators are by definition persons who have no stake in the information supplied or generated in the workshop. Their role is to help resolve conflicts and keep the flow of information at a steady pace. The energy of specialists is kept free to contribute information and expertise to the working groups. This approach makes possible 1) the sharing of available information, 2) reaching agreement on the issues and available information, and 3) making useful and practical
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
management recommendations for the taxon or region under consideration.
process produces clear priorities for data collection so that they can be carried out systematically.
Criticism of the C.A.M.P. Process: The main criticism of the C.A.M.P. Process is that it forces figures when there is no systematic study. Again, we must ask : when there is no information, what to do ? Order of magnitude "guesstimates" by specialists are better than saying and doing nothing. In the IUCN Red List categories also, there is a Data Deficient category, when there is really and truly NO IDEA. The philosophy behind the Conservation Assessment and Management Plan workshop is that a start must be made irregardless. Good faith When attempting to satisfy a commitment such as prioritising all species in an area so large as diverse as South Asia or any of its individual countries in a short span of time, it is necessary to accept a principle of "best possible" in "good faith". The underlying principle is that we gather as many specialists from as many agencies and insitutions as possible participate to avail every bit of information and expertise to arrive at the "best possible" conclusion at this time . . .in "good faith". A gathering of specialists who agree to set aside their personal agendas in the best interests of the taxa has its own authority and power. Their faith is further strengthen by the knowledge that the process can and should be repeated after some years when more studies have been done and the information and recommendations of the previous exercise have provided a fodder for better investigation. Process vis-a-vis Resolution Therefore, the C.A.M.P. Workshop is called a "process" because it is never complete. Information will not be complete for many, perhaps most, species. Even if information is complete, in a very few years, the habitat, the habits of man, the general environment will have changed and also the status of many species. The C.A.M.P. workshop is a first cut or first attempt to define the problem and make strategic decisions for management of the most highly endangered species. In the conservation arena, where time and resources are scarce, such decisions can make a big difference for species survival.
Because changes and disturbances to the habitat, human and otherwise, do not stop while we may delay analysis or action in pursuit of more information, a decision not to proceed must be recognized as a decision with considerable consequences of its own. Again, the issue of "good faith" provides a foundation which should result in a feeling of trust in the process to improve our knowledge of the species and their status and, consequently, the ability to justify forging ahead. Safety features There are several "safety features" built into C.A.M.P. Workshops and their output. 1) In the Taxon Data Sheets where participants record information about individual species, there is a space for listing the names of the contributors of information so that everyone is credited for his input; 2) If an individual disagrees with the group opinion on an item or issue, he is permitted to write his dissenting opinion which, if it is signed, will be included in the Report, 3) C.A.M.P. Reports are circulated at or a few days after the workshop in Draft form and participants are given an opportunity to correct mistakes, or even add bits of information as long as the information does not go against the group opinion; 4) C.A.M.P. Reports are not published in hardback editions as the `last word' on the status of a taxon, They are normally xeroxed with spiral binders in sufficient numbers for participants, policy makers and the implementing agency for wildlife conservation to be used for drafting management plans and action plans. This provides reinforcement to the participants and puts management options into the hands of those who should implement them as soon as possible. 5) It is taken for granted that C.A.M.P. workshops will find numerous information gaps which themselves can be used to generate management recommendations for further studies.
This integrated and analytical review of data never before assembled, coming from many different sources, using knowledge of many individuals and groups on a common ground, has a unique power to guide difficult management decisions. Much of the information typically mobilized has never before been available to managers in useful form. The process is a useful means to improve management in order to minimize extinction risk and minimize regrets while awaiting improved information. The process generates priorities for information that we most need to know, and may suggest that particular or sharper focus should be drawn to planned data collection and research, whereas other data collecting activities may be found less important and can be de-emphasized. So far, from more than 90 C.A.M.P. Workshops over the world, there always has been enough information resulting from the entire process to provide better guidance to managers than existed before. If this is not the case, the
6) After some time, it may be felt that the conservation scenario has changed and requires revisiting so another C.A.M.P. Workshop may be held for the same group, or a smaller group on a more regional basis. Special Issue Working Groups In every C.A.M.P. workshop, participants can suggest issues important to a particular species or a group to be discussed and short reports of the discussions are included in the documents produced from the workshop. Changes in the Process The C.A.M.P. Workshop Process is dynamic ... it changes according to the needs of the conservation requirements of the users. Over the years that C.A.M.P.s have been held, a great many modifications have been done to it. These modifications evolved at workshops just like the one we are about to undertake and adopted as a better way by CBSG and the 50 odd countries in the world which have adopted this process for prioritising their species.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Form for listing Museum Studies for use at the C.A.M.P. Workshop
Name of the Museum:
Museum specimens studied (Name of species)
Location information (Specimen collected from)
Date of collection of specimen
Is the specimen list published? If so, give publication date and journal details
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Instructions on filling out the Biological Information Sheet The Biological Information Sheet is considered a `first step' in preparation of species information for the CAMP workshop. This is to ensure that information on a taxon is represented from as wide a geographical area as is studied, rather than restricting the information from a few representative areas with some information. Gathering information from as wide an area in South Asia will help in assessing the status of a taxon with more accuracy. The BIS will also help gather information from individuals who have data but have not yet published it in a peer-reviewed journal. Since the information provided in the BIS will be accredited to the person contributing the information, the person will get credit as being the author of the document, which will come out of the assessment. With information/ knowledge on any given taxon being so restricted, relying on only published data will only result in a biased assessment, since popular studies have shown that only 5-10% of a field biologist's information actually gets published. A C.A.M.P. workshop is an attempt to gather disparate information from literature, museum records, publications, field notes and unpublished information from various stakeholders (e.g. biologists, ecologists, foresters, scientists, students, conservationists, traders, policy makers, local communities, etc.) to derive the status of a taxon. Please keep the following points in mind while filling in the Biological Information Sheet. 1. Use one sheet for one taxon only. If you have information for many taxa, use photocopies of the blank sheet for each of the taxa. 2. Fill in your personal details completely for at least one of the sheets if you are sending information for more than one taxon. Include your name on all the sheets and follow it with your signature at the end. 3. If there is some confusion in taxonomy, indicate what you feel is the correct status of the taxon (e.g. species, subspecies or population). There will always be an opportunity to work out taxonomic issues in the working groups at the workshop. 4. The information you provide must be your own experience and from the geographical area of your study. In case you have information from museums, please do mention the same and provide all details. 5. In case you have local maps, please send a map along with the BISs with the locations for the taxa. This will help when you finally assess the taxa at the workshop in working groups. 6. Estimate the area (in sq. km.) of taxa distribution within your area of study only. In case you have extra information, you can always provide them in the Comments section. 7. While filling in information for the other sections, if you feel you do not have sufficient knowledge, please do not leave it blank. You can always enter `unknown' in the margin. 8. Under recent field studies, provide complete information on your area of study, date of study (not publication date), under what topic the study was conducted, if published, include full reference. You may need to bring your paper(s) for reference at the workshop. 9. If you have information that is unique for the taxon and for your area of study, please be sure to include it in the comments section. 10. Send the filled in sheets to RILSCINSA - NVSM C.A.M.P. / G.M.A. C/o Zoo Outreach Organisation 29/1 First Cross, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, 641 004, Tamil Nadu, India Ph. 91 422 2563159; 2561087; Fax: 2563269 Email : ; If you would like electronic copies of the forms, please send an email with your request to either of the two emails above. Probably would be the better choice. Remember, any information may be useful information in assessing the status of the taxon. If you feel uncomfortable in filling these sheets because this is the first time you are actually penning them, please let us know of the same. We urge you to fill in as much as you remember or know from your publications, field notes and your observations (even if not published) because the exercise is to assess the status of taxa for which you may be the only one or one of the few individuals with any specific information. We promise you that not a single piece of information will be utilized unethically or for any other purpose other than compiling a database for working groups to assess the status during the workshop. We assure you that your information will be credited in the final Report and that you will be considered an author of the final Report and a contributor to the assessment of the specific taxon. In case you are unable or do not attend the workshop, then your information will be credited in the final Taxon Data Sheets of the final Report.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Biological Information Sheet
C.A.M.P. Workshop for Non-volant Small Mammals
Species name: Your name:
Date: Name: ________________________________________________________ Title: Mr. Ms. Mrs. Dr. Others Address for communication: ____________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone: ___________________________Fax: _________________________ E-mail: _____________________________
Please answer the following questions only with respect to the geographical area of your rodent study in the wild
1. Scientific Name (With authority and date) ________________________________________________________________________
1A. Synonyms:_________________________________________________________________________________________________
1B. Family:____________________________________________________________________________________________________
1C. Common name(s) with language:________________________________________________________________________________
1D. Taxonomic level of assessment:
Sub species
2. Distribution of the taxon
2A. Geographical area of your study: _______________________________________________________________________________
2B. Habitat of the taxon:__________________________________________________________________________________________
2C. Niche, elevation, specific habitat: _______________________________________________________________________________
2D. Names of the localities in which the taxon was studies or sighted by you (please give details of places as accurately as possible):
Name of Area
Exact Location
Area in km2
in case you need more space, fill the same information under comments, or make another copy of the blank sheet to fill in for locations.
3. Number of Locations or Subpopulations in which the taxon is distributed: ____________________________________________
5A. Are the locations or subpopulations: Contiguous
4. Habitat status:
4A. Is there any change in the habitat where the taxon occurs:
No If yes, Is it a
Decrease in area
Increase in area
Stable in area
4B. If Decreasing, what has been the decrease in habitat (approximately, in percent) over years?:
< 20%
> 20%
> 50%
> 80%
in the last _____ years
4C. If Stable or Unknown, do you predict a decline in habitat (approximately, in percent) over years?:
< 20%
> 20%
> 50%
> 80%
in the next _____years
4D. State primary cause of change:_______________________________________________________________________________
4E Is there any change in the quality of habitat where the taxon occurs:
No If yes,
Decrease in quality
Increase in quality
Stable in quality
4F. State primary cause of change:______________________________________________________________________________
5. Threats:
5A. What are the threats to the taxon? (Circle past [P] or future (predicted) [F] threats below):
Human interference [P] [F]
Stoning [P] [F]
Nutritional disorders [P] [F]
Damming [P] [F]
Trade of parts [P] [F]
Pathogens [P] [F]
Horticultural practices [P] [F]
Trade for market or medicine [P] [F]
Predation [P] [F]
Hunting [P] [F]
War [P] [F]
Predation by exotics [P] [F]
Hunting for medicine [P] [F]
Ultraviolet radiation [P] [F]
Hunting for food [P] [F]
Natural/ Man induced threats [P] [F]
Lopping [P] [F]
Climate [P] [F]
Catastrophes [P] [F]
Loss of habitat [P] [F]
Disease [P] [F]
Drought [P] [F]
Habitat fragmentation [P] [F]
Decline in prey species [P] [F]
El Nino [P] [F]
Habitat loss due to exotic animals [P] [F]
Drowning [P] [F]
Fire [P] [F]
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Habitat loss due to exotic plants [P][F] Overexploitation [P] [F] Pesticides [P] [F] Poisoning [P] [F] Pollution [P] [F] Powerlines [P] [F]
Edaphic changes [P] [F] Genetic problems [P] [F] Hybridization [P] [F] Interspecific competition [P] [F] Interspecific competition from exotics [P] [F] Interspecific competition from lifestock [P] [F]
Hurricane [P] [F] Landslide [P] [F] Tsunami [P] [F] Volcano [P] [F] Others (please specify):
Political unrest [P] [F] _____________________________________
5B. Are these threats resulting in (perceived or inferred) or may result in (predicted) population decline?: Yes
6. Trade:
6A. Is the taxon in trade?:
If yes, is it
6B. Parts in trade/kinds:
Whole animal
Scientific collections
Medicinal trade
Laboratory work
Others, please specify______________________________________________________________________________________
7. Population: 7A. Generation time (Defined here as the average age of parents in population):___________________________________________
8. Population trends:
8A. Is the population size/ numbers of the taxon:
8B. If Declining, what has been the rate of population decline perceived or inferred:
< 10% > 10% > 20% > 30% > 40% > 50% > 60% > 70% > 80%
8C. If Stable or Unknown, do you predict a future decline in the population. Yes
Unknown > 90% in the last _______ years/ generations No
If yes, please specify rate and factors e.g. habitat loss, threats, trade, etc._____________________________________________
< 10% > 10% > 20% > 30% > 40% > 50% > 60% > 70% > 80% > 90% in the last _______ years/ generations
9. Data Quality:
9A. Are the above estimates based on:
Census or monitoring
General field study
Indirect information such as from trade, etc.
Informal field sighting Museum / records
Literature Hearsay/ popular belief
10. Recent field studies (in the last 10-15 years). Indicate year of study NOT year of publication.
Researcher name(s)
11. Does Captive breeding already exist:
If yes,
11A. Names of facilities:__________________________________________________________________________________________
12. Other comments:____________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________ Signature
In case you need an electronic copy of the Biological Information Sheet, please email us at the addresses given below.
Send this BIS to Zoo Outreach Organisation, 29-1 Bharathi Colony, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641004, India Fax: +91 422 2563269; E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected]
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Welcome to new RILSCINSA Chair, Dr. Sujit Chakraborty
We were terribly saddened by the untimely and tragic death of Dr. Iswar Prakash, the first Chairman of this RILSCINSA Network. His Obituary appears in this, the first issue of Rata-tattle since his demise, in 2002. Dr. Iswar Prakash is today remembered fondly and with great respect by all who knew him.
We are very much looking forward to Dr. Chakraborty playing the major role in our upcoming Non-volant Small Mammal C.A.M.P. fo which you will read much in this issue. S. Walker, Administrator, RILSCINSA Editor, Rat-a-Tattle
We are very grateful that Dr. Sujit Chakraborty, recently retired from many years service in the Zoological Survey of India was willing to step into the Chairmanship. Dr. Chakraborty, although he is still working in retirement, always has time to advise us on what to do in RILSCINSA. His stature as a small mammal researcher makes him invaluable. For those readers and members who do not know him Dr. Chakraborty personally, we thought we should tell something about him in this issue. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Sujit Chakraborty personally for taking on the Chairmanship and for sparing his time for advising and directing the technical aspects of the network.
Dr. Sujit Chakraborty -- Some details
Date of Birth: Sex: Occupation:
2 April 1942 Male Researcher
IA-28, Sector-III, Bidhan Nagar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700 097, India Phone: 033-24006893, 24002856 (O), 23350300 (R)
Research Interests (Conservation-related): Taxonomy, ecology and zoogeography of Indian mammals, Wildlife management and trade and impact assessment
Dr. Chakraborty has been carrying out research on Indian mammals for last 35 years. In the BCCP C.A.M.P. Workshop, Bangalore, he facilitated the working group on Rodents (except Sciuridae) and Insectivora. He is Member of the Pioneering Steering Committee of RILSCINSA. Dr. Chakraborty regularly represents his department in the meetings of the Wildlife Advisory Boards of the Central and State Governments. He actively participated in the Amendment of the Schedules of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Dr. Chakraborty has participated in many different training programmes of rodent management, conservation and identification as resource person. He has had many students over his 35 years with ZSI, both official in degree programmes and casual, to whom he has simply passed his encyclopaedic knowledge. He has published over 70 conservation-related publications as of as of three years ago and is still researching and publishing despite his retirement from ZSI.
Ph.D. in Rodentia / Insectivora: Yes, "Studies on the systematics and biology of some Oriental rodents", Kolkata University, 1981, Guide: Dr. B. Biswas Species/Group of special interest: All groups of mammals with special reference to Rodentia, Insectivore, Chiroptera, Scandentia, Primates, Artiodactyla, Periscodactyla, Lagomorpha, Carnivora of Indian region Projects (Conservation-related): 1983 Fauna of Jammu & Kashmir 1993 Fauna of West Bengal 1997 Fauna of Gujarat 1997 Fauna of Valmiki Tiger Reserve Ongoing Fauna of Andra Pradesh Captive populations of Rodentia / Insectivora maintained: Bandicota indica, Bandicota bengalensis, Rattus rattus
Conservation Assessment and Management Plan, C.A.M.P. Ground rules -- Every idea or plan or belief about the Taxon or Region can be examined and discussed. -- Everyone participates in discussions and no one dominates. -- Set aside all personal agendas except conserving the Taxon or Region in question. -- Assume good intent of all participants. Treat other participants with respect. -- Stick to the schedule; begin on time and end when the group reaches closure. -- The primary work will be conducted in sub-groups called "working groups". -- Facilitators of group discussion can call "time out" when discussions become unproductive. -- Agreements or recommendations are reached by consensus. -- Plan to complete and review a draft by the end of the meeting. -- Flexibility is key. We will adjust our process and schedule as needed to achieve our goals.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Mammals of South Asia (Insectivora, Scandentia, Rodentia, Lagomorpha and Pholidota) Checklist of non-volant small mammals -- 186 species in 14 families P.O. Nameer *
Legend: AU ­ Australian, BA ­ Bangladesh, BH ­ Bhutan, EN ­ Endemic, ET ­ Ethiopian, EX ­ Extinct, I ­ India, M ­ Myanmar, N ­ Nepal, NE ­ Nearctic, P ­ Paleacrtic, PK ­ Pakistan, SE ­ South East Asia, SR ­ Sri Lanka
I. ORDER: INSECTIVORA 1) Family: Erinaceidae (hedgehogs) Subfamily: Erinaceinae 1. Hemiechinus auritus (Gmelin, 1770), Long-eared Hedgehog - PK, P. 2. Hemiechinus collaris (Gray, 1830), Collared or Indian Long-eared Hedgehog ­ I, PK (EN) 3. Hemiechinus hypomelas (Brandt, 1836), Brandt's Hedgehog ­ PK, P 4.Hemiechinus micropus (Blyth, 1846), Indian (Pale) Hedgehog ­ I, PK (EN) 5.Hemiechinus nudiventris (Horsfield, 1851), Madras Hedgehog ­ I (EN) 2) Family: Talpidae (Moles) Subfamily Talpinae 6.Euroscaptor micrura (Hodgson, 1841), Himalayan (Shorttailed) Mole ­ I, N, SE 7.Parascaptor leucura (Blyth, 1850), White-tailed (Eastern, Assam) Mole ­ I, M, SE, P 3) Family Soricidae (Shrews) Subfamily Soricinae 8.Anourosorex squamipes Milne-Edwards, 1872, Mole Shrew or Chinese Short-tailed Shrew ­ I, M, BH, SE, P 9.Chimarrogale himalayica (Gray, 1842), Himalayan Water Shrew ­ I, M, SE, P 10.Nectogale elegans Milne-Edwards, 1870, Sikkim (Tibetan, Elegant) Water Shrew ­ I, N, M, P 11.Sorex minutus Linnaeus, 1766, Tiny Shrew - I, PK, N, P 12.Sorex thibetanus Kastschenko, 1905, Tibetan Shrew - I, P 13.Soriculus caudatus (Horsfield, 1851), Horsfield's Longtailed (Hodgson's Brown-toothed) Shrew - I, M, P 14.Soriculus leucops (Horsfield, 1855), White-headed (Indian Long-tailed) Shrew - I, N, M, SE, P 15.Soriculus macrurus Blanford, 1888, Blanford's Longtailed (Arboreal Brown -toothed) Shrew - I, N, M, SE, P 16.Soriculus nigrescens (Gray, 1842), Sikkim large-clawed (Himalayan) Shrew - I, N, M, P Subfamily Crocidurinae 17.Crocidura andamanensis Miller, 1902, Miller's Andaman Spiny Shrew - I (EN) 18.Crocidura attenuata Milne-Edwards, 1872, Grey (Woodland) Shrew - I, N, M, SE, P 19.Crocidura fuliginosa (Blyth, 1856), South-East Asian White-toothed Shrew - I, M, SE 20.Crocidura gmelini (Pallas, 1811), Steppe Pigmy Shrew ­ PK (EN) 21.Crocidura gьeldenstдedtii (Pallas, 1811), Gьldenstдdt's White-toothed Shrew - I, PK, AF, P 22.Crocidura hispida Thomas, 1913, Andaman Spiny Shrew ­ I (EN) 23.Crocidura horsfieldii (Tomes, 1856), Horsfield's Shrew I, SR, N, M, SE, P
24.Crocidura jenkinsi Chakraborthy, 1978, Jenkins' Andaman Spiny Shrew ­ I (EN) 25.Crocidura miya Phillips, 1929, Sri Lankan Long-tailed Shrew ­ SR (EN) 26.Crocidura nicobarica Miller, 1902, Nicobar Spiny Shrew ­ I (EN) 27.Crocidura pergrisea Miller, 1913, Pale Grey Shrew ­ I (EN) 28.Crocidura pullata Miller, 1911, Kashmir White-toothed Shrew - I, PK, AF, SE, P 29.Crocidura zarudnyi Ognev, 1921, Zarudny's Shrew - PK, P 30.Feroculus feroculus (Kelaart, 1850), Kelaart's Longclawed Shrew - I, SR (EN) 31.Solisorex pearsoni Thomas, 1924, Pearson's Longclawed Shrew ­ SR (EN) 32.Suncus dayi (Dobson, 1888), Day's Shrew ­ I (EN) 33.Suncus etruscus (Savi, 1822), Pygmy (White-toothed) Shrew - I, PK, N, M, BH, SE, P 34.Suncus fellowesgordoni Phillips, 1932, Sri Lankan Shrew ­ SR (EN) 35.Suncus montanus (Kelaart, 1850), Highland Shrew Shrew ­ I, SR (EN) 36.Suncus murinus (Linnaeus, 1766), House (Grey Musk) Shrew, Musk rat - I, PK, SR, N, M, BH, BA, SE 37.Suncus stoliczkanus (Anderson, 1877), Anderson's (Yellow-throated) Shrew ­ I, N (EN) 38.Suncus zeylanicus Phillips, 1928, Jungle Shrew ­ SR (EN) II.ORDER SCANDENTIA 4) Family Tupaiidae (tree shrews) Subfamily Tupaiinae 39.Anathana ellioti (Waterhouse, 1850), South Indian (Madras) Tree Shrew ­ I (EN) 40.Tupaia belangeri (Wagner, 1841) - I, N, M, BA, SE 41.Tupaia nicobarica (Zelebor, 1869), Nicobar Tree ShrewI (EN) * Assistant Professor, Dept., of Wildlife Sciences, College of Forestry, Kerala Agril. Univ. , Thrissur, Kerala
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
III. ORDER: RODENTIA SUBORDER: SCIUROGNATHI 5) Family: Sciuridae Subfamily: Sciurinae (Squirrels) 42.Callosciurus erythraeus (Pallas, 1778), Pallas's Squirrel / Red-bellied Squirrel - I, M, BH, SE, P 43.Callosciurus pygerythrus (I Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, 1832), Hoary-bellied Himalayan (Irrawaddy) Squirrel - I, N, M, SE, P 44.Dremomys lokriah (Hodgson, 1836), Orange-bellied Himalayan Squirrel - I, N, M, P 45.Dremomys pernyi (Milne-Edwards, 1867), Perny's Longnosed Squirrel - I, SE, P 46.Dremomys rufigenis (Blanford, 1878), Red-cheeked Squirrel I, SE, P 47.Funambulus layardi (Blyth, 1849), Layard's Striped Squirrel / Travancore Striped Squirrel - I, SR (EN) 48.Funambulus palmarum (Linnaeus, 1766), Indian (Threestriped) Palm Squirrel - I, SR (EN) 49.Funambulus pennantii Wroughton, 1905, Northern (Fivestriped) Palm Squirrel - I, PK, N, P 50.Funambulus sublineatus (Waterhouse, 1838), Dusky Striped Squirrel - I, SR (EN) 51.Funambulus tristriatus (Waterhouse, 1837), Jungle Striped Squirrel / Western Ghats Squirrel - I (EN) 52.Marmota caudata (Jacquemont, 1844), Long-tailed Marmot / Golden Marmot - I, PK, P 53.Marmota himalayana (Hodgson, 1841), Himalayan Marmot - I, N, P 54.Ratufa bicolor (Sparrman, 1778), Black (Malayan) Giant Squirrel - I, N, M, SE, P 55.Ratufa indica (Erxleben, 1777), Indian (Malabar) Giant Squirrel - I (EN) 56.Ratufa macroura (Pennant, 1769), Grizzled (Sri Lankan) Giant Squirrel - I, SR (EN) 57.Tamiops macclellandi (Horsfield, 1840), Himalayan Striped Squirrel - I, M, SE, P
64.Petaurista elegans (Mьller, 1840), Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel - I, M, SE, P 65.Petaurista magnificus (Hodgson, 1836), Hodgson's Flying Squirrel - I, N (EN) 66.Petaurista nobilis (Gray, 1842), Gray's Giant Flying Squirrel - I, N, BH (EN) 67.Petaurista petaurista (Pallas, 1766), Red (Common) Giant Squirrel Flying - I, PK, N, M, SE 68.Petaurista philippensis (Elliot, 1839), Elliot's Giant Flying Squirrel / Large Brown Flying Squirrel - I, SR, M, SE, P 69.Petinomys fuscocapillus (Jerdon, 1847), Travancore Flying Squirrel - I, SR (EN) 6) Family: Muridae Subfamily: Murinae (Rats and Mice) 70.Acomys cahirinus Desmarest, 1819, Cairo Spiny Mouse - PK, P, ET 71.Apodemus draco (Barrett-Hamilton, 1900), Fukien Wood Mouse - I, M, P 72.Apodemus gurkha Thomas, 1924 - N (EN) 73.Apodemus rusiges Miller, 1913, Miller's Wood Mouse - I (EN) 74.Apodemus sylvaticus (Linnaeus, 1758), Wood Mouse - I, PK, N, P 75.Apodemus wardi (Wroughton, 1908), Wroughton's Wood Mouse - I, PK, N, P 76.Bandicota bengalensis (Gray and Hardwicke, 1833), Lesser Bandicoot-rat (Indian Mole-rat) - I, PK, SR, N, M, BA, SE 77.Bandicota indica (Bechstein, 1800), Large (Greater) Bandicoot-rat - I, PK, SR, N, M, BA, SE, P 78.Berylmys bowersi (Anderson, 1879), Bower's Rat I, SE, P 79.Berylmys mackenziei (Thomas, 1916), Kenneth's White-toothed Rat - I, M, SE 80.Berylmys manipulus (Thomas, 1916), Manipur Rat - I, M, P 81.Chiropodomys gliroides (Blyth, 1856), Pencil-tailed Tree Mouse - I, SE, P 82.Cremnomys blanfordi (Thomas, 1881), Whitetailed Wood (Blanford's) Rat - I, SR (EN) 83.Cremnomys cutchicus Wroughton, 1912, Cutch Rat ­ I (EN) 84.Cremnomys elvira (Ellerman, 1946), Ellerman's Rat - I (EN) 85.Dacnomys millardi Thomas, 1916, Millard's (Large-toothed) Rat - I, SE
Subfamily: Petauristinae (Flying squirrels) 58.Belomys pearsonii (Gray, 1842), Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel I, N, M, SE 59.Biswamoyopterus biswasi Saha, 1981, Namdapha Flying Squirrel - I (EN) 60.Eupetaurus cinereus Thomas, 1888, Woolly Flying Squirrel - I, PK (EN) 61.Hylopetes alboniger (Hodgson, 1836), Particoloured Flying Squirrel - I, N, M, SE, P 62.Hylopetes baberi (Blyth, 1847), Kashmir Flying Squirrel - I, PK, P 63.Hylopetes fimbriatus (Gray, 1837), Small Kashmir Flying Squirrel - I, PK (EN)
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
86.Diomys crumpi Thomas, 1917, Crump's (Manipur) Mouse - I, N I (EN) 87.Golunda ellioti Gray, 1837, Indian Bush Rat - I, PK, SR, N, P 88.Hadromys humei (Thomas, 1886), Hume's (Manipur Bush) Rat - I, P 89.Leopoldamys edwardsi (Thomas, 1882), Edward's Rat I, SE, P 90.Micromys minutus (Pallas, 1771), Harvest Mouse - I, M, SE, P 91.Millardia gleadowi (Murray, 1886), Sand-coloured Rat - I, PK (EN) 92.Millardia kondana Mishra and Dhanda, 1975, Kondana Rat (Kondana Metad) - I (EN) 93.Millardia meltada (Gray, 1837), Soft-furred Field Rat (Metad) - I, PK, SR, N (EN) 94.Mus booduga (Gray, 1837), Little Indian Field Mouse - I, PK, SR, M (EN) 95.Mus cervicolor Hodgson, 1845, Fawn-coloured Mouse I, N, M, SE 96.Mus cookii Ryley, 1914, Cook's Mouse - I, N, M, SE 97.Mus famulus Bonhote, 1898, Bonhote's Mouse ­ I (EN) 98.Mus fernandoni (Phillips, 1932) ­ SR (EN) 99.Mus mayori (Thomas, 1915) ­ SR (EN) 100.Mus musculus Linnaeus, 1758, House Mouse throughout 101.Mus pahari Thomas, 1916, Sikkim Mouse (Gainrdner's Shrew-mouse ) - I, M, SE, P 102.Mus phillipsi Wroughton, 1912, Fawn-coloured Mouse ­ I (EN) 103.Mus platythrix Bennett, 1832, Spiny Field (Indian Brown Spiny) Mouse ­ I (EN) 104.Mus saxicola Elliot, 1839, Elliot's Brown Spiny Mouse ­ I, PK (EN) 105.Mus terricolor Blyth, 1851, Pygmy (Earth-coloured) Field Mouse - I, PK, N, SE 106.Nesokia indica (Gray and Hardwicke, 1830), Shorttailed Bandicoot-rat - I, PK, N, P, ET 107.Niviventer brahma (Thomas, 1914), Mishmi Rat - I, M, P 108.Niviventer eha (Wroughton, 1916), Smoke-bellied Rat I, N, M, P 109.Niviventer fulvescens (Gray, 1847), Chestnut Rat - I, PK, SE, P 110.Niviventer langbianis (Robinson and Kloss, 1922), Langbian Rat - I, M, SE 111.Niviventer niviventer (Hodgson, 1836), White-bellied Rat ­ I, PK (EN) 112.Niviventer tenaster (Thomas, 1916), Tenasserim Rat - I, M, SE 113.Rattus burrus (Miller, 1902), Miller's Rat - I (EN) 114.Rattus exulans (Peale, 1848), Polynesian Rat - M, BA, SE, AU 115.Rattus montanus Phillips, 1932 ­ SR (EN) 116.Rattus nitidus (Hodgson, 1845) Himalayan Rat - I, N, M, SE
117.Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769), Brown (Norway) Rat - I, PK, SR, M, BA, SE, P, ET, NE, AU 118.Rattus palmarum (Zelebor, 1869), Nicobar Rat ­ I (EN) 119.Rattus ranjiniae Agarwal and Ghosal, 1969 Ranjini's Rat - I (EN) 120.Rattus rattus (Linnaeus, 1758), House (Roof, Black) Rat - I, PK, SR, N, M, BH, BA, SE, P 121.Rattus sikkimensis Hinton, 1919, Sikkim Rat - I, N, M, SE, P 122.Rattus stoicus (Miller, 1902), Andaman Rat ­ I (EN) 123.Rattus tiomanicus (Miller, 1900), Malaysian Wood Rat I, SE 124.Rattus turkestanicus (Satunin, 1903), Turkestan Rat - I, PK, P 125.Srilankamys ohiensis (Phillips, 1929) ­ SR (EN) 126.Vandeleuria nolthenii Phillips, 1929 - SR (EN) 127.Vandeleuria oleracea (Bennett, 1832), Palm Mouse (Indian long-tailed Tree Mouse) - I, SR, P Subfamily: Calomyscinae 128.Calomyscus baluchi Thomas, 1920 - PK, P 129.Calomyscus hotsoni Thomas, 1920 ­ PK (EN) Subfamily: Cricetinae (Hamsters) 130.Cricetulus alticola Thomas, 1917, Ladakh Hamster - I, N, P 131.Cricetulus migratorius (Pallas, 1773), Grey Hamster - I, PK, P Subfamily: Gerbillinae (Gerbiles, Jirds) 132.Gerbillus aquilus Schlitter and Setzer, 1972 - PK, P 133.Gerbillus cheesmani Thomas, 1919, Cheeseman's Gerbil - PK, P 134.Gerbillus gleadowi Murray, 1886, Indian Hairy-footed Gerbil ­ I, PK (EN) 135.Gerbillus nanus Blanford, 1875, Baluchistan Gerbil - I, PK, P, ET 136.Meriones crassus Sundevall, 1842, Sundeall's Jird PK, P 137.Meriones hurrianae Jerdon, 1867, Indian Desert Jird I, PK, P 138.Meriones libycus Lichtenstein, 1823, Liyan Jird - PK, P, ET 139.Meriones persicus Blanford, 1875, Persian Jird - PK, P 140.Rhombomys opimus (Lichtenstein, 1823), Great Gerbil - PK, P 141.Tatera indica (Hardwicke, 1807), Indian Gerbile (Antelope Rat) - I, PK, SR, N, P
Subfamily: Platacanthomyinae (Dormouse) 142.Platacanthomys lasiurus Blyth, 1859, Malabar Spiny Mouse (Spiny Dormouse) ­ I (EN)
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Subfamily: Arvicolinae (Voles) 143.Alticola albicauda (True, 1894), Baltistan Mountain Vole ­ I (EN) 144.Alticola argentatus (Severtzov, 1879), Silvery Mountain Vole - I, PK, P 145.Alticola montosa (True, 1894), Kashmir Mountain Vole ­ I (EN) 146.Alticola roylei Gray, 1842, Royle's Mountain Vole ­ I (EN) 147.Alticola stoliczkanus (Blanford, 1875), Stoliczka's Mountain Vole - I, N, P 148.Alticola stracheyi Thomas, 1880, Thomas's Mountain Vole - I, N, P 149.Ellobius fuscocapillus Blyth, 1843, Afghan Mole-Vole PK, P 150.Eothenomys melanogaster (Milne-Edwards, 1871), Pиre David's Vole ­ I, M (EN) 151.Hyperacrius fertilis (True, 1894), True's Vole ­ I, M (EN) 152.Hyperacrius wynnei (Blanford, 1881), Murree Vole ­ I, PK (EN) 153.Microtus juldaschi (Severtzov, 1879) - PK, P 154.Microtus kirgisorum (Ognev, 1950) - PK, P 155.Microtus leucurus (Blyth, 1863), Blyth's Vole ­ I, P 156.Microtus sikimensis (Hodgson, 1849), Sikkim Vole - I, N, BH, P 157.Microtus transcaspicus Satunin, 1905 - PK, P
SUBORDER HYSTRICOGNATHI 10) Family Hystricidae (Porcupines) 166.Atherurus macrourus (Linnaeus, 1758), Asiatic Brushtailed Porcupine - I, M, SE, P 167.Hystrix brachyura Linnaeus, 1758, Malayan (Himalayan Crestless) Porcupine - I, N, BA, SE, P 168.Hystrix indica Kerr, 1792, Indian (Crested) Porcupine I, P 11) Family: Caviidae Subfamily: Caviinae 169.Cavia porcellus (Linnaeus, 1758) Guinea Pig throughout IV. ORDER LAGOMORPHA 12) Family: Leporidae (Hares and Rabbits) 170. Caprolagus hispidus (Pearson, 1839), Assam Rabbit, Hispid Hare ­ I, N (EN) 171.Lepus capensis Linnaeus, 1758, Cape Hare ­ I, P, ET 172.Lepus nigricollis F Cuvier, 1823, Indian Hare, Blacknaped Hare, Rufous-tailed Hare - I, PK, SR, N, BA (EN) 173.Lepus oiostolus Hodgson, 1840, Woolly Hare - I, N, P 174.Oryctolagus cuniculus Linnaeus, 1758, European Rabbit, Domestic Rabbit - THROUGHOUT
Subfamily: Rhizomyinae (Bamboo rats) 158.Cannomys badius (Hodgson, 1841), Lesser Bamboo Rat - I, N, M, BH, BA, SE, P 159.Rhizomys pruinosus Blyth, 1851, Hoary Bamboo Rat - I, M, SE, P 7) Family: Myoxidae Subfamily: Leithiina 160.Dryomys nitedula (Pallas, 1779), Forest Dormouse PK, P 8) Family: Dipodidae Subfamily: Allactaginae 161.Allactaga elater (Lichtenstein, 1828), Small Five-toed Jerboa - PK, P 162.Allactaga hotsoni Thomas, 1920, Hotson's Five-toed Jerboa - PK, P Subfamily Cardiocraniinae 163.Salpingotus michaelis Fitzgibbon, 1966, Baluchistan Pigmy Jerboa - PK, P Subfamily Dipodinae 164.Jaculus blanfordi (Murray, 1884), Blanford's Jerboa PK, P
13) Family Ochotonidae (Mouse hares and Pikas) 175.Ochotona curzoniae (Hodgson, 1858), Black-lipped Pika, Plateau Pika - I, N, P 176.Ochotona forresti Thomas, 1923, Forrest's Pika - I, BH, P 177.Ochotona himalayana Feng, 1973 ­ N, P 178.Ochotona ladacensis (Gьnther, 1875), Ladakh Pika/ Long-eared Pika - I, PK, 179.Ochotona macrotis (Gьnther, 1875), Large-eared Pika I, PK, N, P 180.Ochotona nubrica Thomas, 1922, Nubra Pika - I, N, P 181.Ochotona roylei (Ogilby, 1839), Royle's Pika (Himalayan Mouse-hare) ­ I (EN) 182.Ochotona rufescens (Gray, 1842), Afghan Pika - PK, P 183.Ochotona thibetana (Milne-Edwards, 1871), Mountain Pika ­ I (EN) V. ORDER PHOLIDOTA Family: Manidae (Pangolins) 184.Manis crassicaudata Gray, 1827, Indian Pangolin - I, PK, SR, BA (EN) 185.Manis javanica Desmarest, 1822, Sunda Pangolin - M, SE 186.Manis pentadactyla Linnaeus, 1758, Chinese Pangolin - I, N, M, SE, P
Subfamily Sicistinae 165.Sicista concolor (Bьchner, 1892), Chinese Birch Mouse - I, PK, P
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
The 2003 Harvest Mouse Release Penny Rudd*
Following the big success of last year's pilot project to establish a release protocol for Harvest Mice Micromys minutus, we decided to take the project into a much larger second stage in 2003.
Early in 2003, we carried out a series of live-mammal trapping sessions in the area in and around the 2002 release site, where 130 mice had been released last May. We were encouraged to find harvest mice, offspring of those we released last year, that had successfully over wintered and were in excellent condition. Given that we know that this is a species that is subject to huge natural winter mortality rates, this success prompted us to undertake an even more exciting project this year, which enabled us to encompass many of the lessons learned during 2002. Just a reminder that the Harvest Mouse is the UK`s smallest rodent, weighing in at just 5 - 6 grams. Its very size poses enormous problems for researchers who have to find ways of following these minute creatures to establish how they survive, where they go, and what habitat they prefer. This information will help to establish the ideal conditions in which wellinformed re-introduction programmes can be carried out. Needles and haystacks spring to mind but the team at Chester have taken up that challenge!
Radio-collaring was attempted for the first time for such a tiny creature. Photo by Mike Jordan
During the week commencing 9 June 2003, at the culmination of a huge amount of planning and a multidisciplinary `team effort`, 270 Harvest Mice, 50% males, and 50% females, were released from our stock onto the Zoo`s farmland adjacent to the Shropshire Union Canal. Once again, the animals had not only been bred in the Zoo - at the off-show Harvest Mouse unit run by Mammal Keeper, Felicity Fair, but by several `volunteers` from as far away as Huddersfield and Windsor! Those bred by volunteers had been returned to the Zoo to join the Zoo-bred animals in time for a thorough veterinary screening carried out by the Zoo`s vets prior to release. Each was in perfect condition thanks
Release cages for Micromys minutus. Photo by Mike Jordan
to significant husbandry efforts made during the preparation process. The mice were between 8 weeks and 12 months old, and every individual was micro-chipped so that we know their lineage, have exact information about where they were released, and can monitor their progress once they have been released.
On the 9 June we individually placed 135 mice out into secure mesh `soft release` enclosures which were then staked into place at allocated points around the release site. One of the *Project Coordinator, Animal Division, Chester Zoo, Upton -by-Chester, Chester CH2 1LH, United Kingdom
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significant findings from last year's release was that we needed to design much better soft-release enclosures for this year if we were going to obtain a more accurate idea as to whether soft-release is beneficial, in comparison to hardrelease. Paul Howse, the Twilight Zone`s Team Leader was allocated this daunting (because Harvest Mice seem able to escape from almost anything!) task. He worked wonders, and thankfully, our 135 new soft-release enclosures worked brilliantly, the aim being to provide food, water, shelter, protection from predation and also the hope of establishing a small home-range prior to actual release 48 hours later.
using tiny instruments designed for orthodontic work! These tiny collars need soldering to activate them, and a willing member of our Maintenance Team, the Mechanic Keith Bragan, was roped in, with some trepidation, as he is used to welding rather larger subjects, to do the honours. Truly a joint effort!
Micromys minutus - radio-collaring. Photo by Mike Jordan
Microchipping by Chester Zoo Vet. team. Photo by Mike Jordan During the evening of the 11 June, a further 135 harvest mice were added through a hard-release, whereby animals are simply placed in suitable habitat, again in allocated places on the same site. By `joining` those already placed in position in their softrelease cages two days earlier, we effectively released animals in clusters of two males and two females on each of 67 release points covering a two hectares area. At the same time, the soft-release cages were `loosened` to allow animals to move out of them if they wished. It was like a military exercise! A team of nine staff and volunteers choreographed our move from one end of the site to the other carefully releasing animals in a set order to avoid the risk of damaging our precious habitat and of treading on animals we had just released!
A team of three well-trained, committed, `trackers`, Sarah Bird from Botanics, Eleanor Condon from our Research Department and Leon Barnes, an MSc student registered with the Zoo, then took over. With just the very occasional help from Roy Leigh, of the Cheshire Mammal Group, and Paul Howse from the Twilight Zone, Sarah, Eleanor and Leon took on the huge and complicated task of tracking these animals, over a 24 hour-a-day period for 20 days, in a series of shifts. The aim was to `track` each mouse twice during each of the four six-hour shifts, thus obtaining 8 `hits` per mouse, per 24 hour period, and to record its location, and habitat choice.
Perhaps the most exciting, and certainly scientifically ground-breaking aspect of this years release has been our decision to radio-collar 20 individuals. This has never been attempted before, anywhere in the world, with such a tiny creature. We commissioned Biotrack in Dorset to make the minute collars for us, having thoroughly investigated any animal welfare issues involved with collar use. They were able to produce a collar weighing just .35 of one gram, and with a fair amount of `tweaking` by extending the audio-pulse intervals used to track the animals, we were given a battery life of about 21 days. Collaring was carried out by Zoo Vet Shan Siah who anaesthetised the mice whilst MSc Student, Leon Barnes (who is a dentist in his `other life!) attached the collars,
Micromys minutus in hand-rearing. Photo by Mike Jordan To maintain consistency, ten of the radio-collared animals (five male and five female) were placed in soft-release enclosures, and tracking started immediately. This may sound a little bizarre as technically we should know where
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they are if they are in a secure soft-release enclosure, but by a stunning piece of good luck, one of these collared animals found an escape route. We were able to track its behaviour with regard to its use of the soft-release enclosure and noted that he kept coming back to base from day one, and travelled a little further on each foray out. From this mouse alone we have confirmed research that was otherwise speculative. The remaining ten (5.5) radio-collared mice were hardreleased with the others two days later and tracking started immediately. It will be extremely interesting to see what both the radio-tracking and all the other post-release monitoring data reveals when it has been analysed.
Our first post-release monitoring session of all the mice took place over three days of live trapping during the last week of June and we were thrilled by the number of pregnant Harvest Mice we were already re-capturing at that stage. We know that none of our animals were pregnant at the time of release so we now know that at least they were `finding each other` after they had been released! Radio tracking was expensive and exhausting, but so worthwhile. The data we obtain from this, specifically about survival, dispersal and habitat choice, will not only be far more accurate than that achieved by any other method, but will very significantly impact on release and re-introduction research around the world. Scientists eagerly await our findings and Chester should be very proud of our part in such important re-introduction research.
Editor's Message Dear RILSCINSA Members and other readers : Last year, for the entire year of 2002, we did not bring out a Newsletter. For this we apologise. There was "news" for sure, such as the Field Techniques Training Workshop and the then upcoming C.A.M.P., but -- with reference to the C.A.M.P.-- the dates kept changing and then we postponed waiting for the Global Mammal Assessment, so the year just slipped by. We hope this double-sized issue makes up for it. In any case, the Non-volant Small Mammal C.A.M.P. Workshop has now been scheduled, and the Global Mammal Assessment is a collaborating partner, so events are back on track. This issue has been devoted largely to the C.A.M.P. and G.M.A. -- definition, news, preparation (with forms which you can xerox and fill), etc. Also associated with the C.A.M.P., but not confirmed as to whether just before or just after, is a CBSG/RSG training workshop in Reintroduction, Welfare, and Captive management of non-volant small mammals, overseen by the Reintroduction Specialist Group, South and East Asia (Chaired by Sanjay Molur) and the Conservaton Breeding Specialist Group, South Asia (Convened by Sally Walker). Dr. Mike Jordan, Chair of the Small Mammal Subgroup, Reintroduction Specialist Group and Small Mammal Curator, Chester Zoo will lead the training and (we hope) Simone de Vries of the Rotterdam Zoo, both of whom have had direct experience in captive breeding leading to reintroduction. Speaking of which, we are running three articles about reintroduction projects, from England, from Netherlands and from Australia. In England and in Netherlands, it is worth mentioning that the species which required captive management and reintroduction were "common species", the Harvest Mouse in England and the European Guinea Pig in Netherlands. This is just to remind everyone that every species and subspecies has its singular role and if it is eradicated, worse things can happen than from its damage as a pest ! Again, speaking of the above, there is some movement afoot to revise the Schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act to address the anomaly of all "rats and mice" being classified as "Vermin", when some of them were assessed as threatened in the last C.A.M.P. workshop, and undoubtedly in the coming workshop, others may join the threatened list. This action is pending for a long time and we hope these movements will result in success. Another part of the issue reports the 2002 Field Techniques Training Workshop and the follow-up which was that we were able to raise sufficient funds for supplying one dozen researchers with Sherman traps and travel money for conducting small but important studies. Finally, last but not least, we have several contributed articles on rodents from different parts of India. We would be happy to include more articles and news from members in other parts of South Asia and invite the same. Wishing you a bit early a very happy new year in 2004. You can keep track of it with the RILSCINSA year Calendar which we have included along with this issue.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Porcupine (Hystrix indica Kerr) foraging activity in cultivated ecosystems in Western Ghats of Karnataka A.K. Chakravarthy*, B.B. Hosetti** and A.C. Girish*
Field observations were recorded during 2001-03 for presence and absence of porcupine in Shimoga (13°56'N, 75°31'E), Hassan (13°18'N, 76°10'E), Chikmagalur (13° 7'N 75°37'E) and Dakshina Kannada (12°27'N, 74°35'E) districts in Western Ghats region of Karnataka, Gir forest (20°40'N, 70°50'E) in Gujarat and in the campus of the Agriculture University, Thrissur (09°20'N, 77°08'E) of Kerala. In plain habitats of these districts, the porcupines were not present in abundance (1-2 animals/KmІ) and in fringe areas bordering the forest tract, its population was comparatively high (4-6 animals/ KmІ) and its damage to cultivable plants was also more. It has been observed feeding on a wide range of plants. The plants damaged by porcupine in these areas are presented in Table 1. Damage to plants was identified by the teeth marks. Porcupine preferred tuber crops and tender shoots of plants. It supplemented its diet with coconut bark to balance its nutrient requirements. Debarking was seasonal and the porcupines debarked palms during September to February months for want of nutrient supplements or for maximum height of one meter upto the age of >20-year old palms. In grown-up palms, it debarks by removing bark pieces from the trunk exposing the pith and in young palms it will cut the basal portion just above the ground and dig the soil and scoop the nut, eating the endocarp resulting in death of the seedling. These types of damages are common in Dakshina Kannada region. In Kidu, Subramanya, 120 coconut seedlings out of 2000 planted were succumbed to porcupine feeding. Porcupines preferred young coconut seedlings of age <2 years old. They dig the soil and feed on the tuber corms and tender shoots of bamboo. Pineapple and canes are eaten by peeling the plant apart and eating the growing tip killing the whole plant. Since natural forest cover is decreasing (forest cover of 8000 kmІ in North Kanara district 40 years ago has been reduced to 6000 kmІ in recent years) and increase in cultivated areas, have lead the animal to feed on the crops.
Table 1. Plants damaged by Porcupine in coastal and hill regions of Karnataka
Common Name Sweet potato Bamboo Tapioca Alocasia Cashewnut Cane Sweet potato Ananus Banana
Scientific Name Ipomea batatas Bamboosa arundinacea Manihot esculenta Alocasia indica Anacardium occidentale Calamus tenuis Diascorea esculenta Ananas comosus Musa paradisiaca
Agave Americana
Wild turmeric Zingiber zerumbet
Colacasia Colacasia indica
Gauri gedde Gloriosa superba
Byne palm Caryota urens
Thare mara Acacia catechu
Cocos nucifera
% Damage 3% of 20 tubers 8% of 25 tillers 6% of 22 tubers 2% of 15 tubers 10% of 200 nuts 5% of 35 tillers 6% of 42 tubers 6% of 350 plants 2-8% of 150 plants 15-30% of 450 plants 10-15% of 750 plants 10-15% of 50 plants 10-15% of 10 plants 15-20% of 15 plants 3-5% of 75 fruits 20-40% of 4000 palms
Survey and observations revealed that the people in the region of Western Ghats hunt the porcupine for meat. People shoot the animal with guns or even raid burrows to kill the animal with a sickle. They also kill the animal by closing the burrow openings, make a noose of nylon rope at one opening and fumigate the burrow. When the animal runs out of the borrow, it gets strangled and killed. Since the porcupine is not a protected animal under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, it is being hunt and killed. Only in protected areas like in Bhadra Reserve Forest and Shiradi forest tract, people are afraid to hunt since shooting is prohibited in these areas. Forest officials frequently visit the areas.
*Department of Entomology, ZARS, V.C. Farm, Mandya 571 405, Karnataka *Department of Applied Zoology, Kuvempu University, B.R. Project, Badravathi
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Breeding and reintroduction of the Common Hamster in The Netherlands Simone de Vries*
In 1999, the Dutch government decided to start a program for the breeding and reintroduction of Common hamsters (Cricetus cricetus). The breeding, carried out by Vereniging Das & Boom and Rotterdam Zoo, has been very successful. In spring 2002 the first group of hamsters was reintroduced in a reserve, specially managed for this species. In 2003 the small population in this reserve was reinforced, while at the same time hamsters where introduced in a newly developed area.
Background In the 90's the number of European hamsters in The Netherlands dropped dramatically, mainly due to habitat loss. Until then, hamsters were widely distributed in the southern province Limburg. In 1999, only one small area remained. In Heer, near Maastricht, 5 occupied burrows were found (Krekels R., 1999), apparently populated with less than 20 animals. The Dutch government decided to capture the remaining animals to start a breeding program. Rotterdam Zoo was asked to co-ordinate this program. At the same time measures where taken to expand the area suitable for Common hamsters, in order to make quick reintroduction possible. The plan is for 11 reserves of at least 45 ha to be developed in the course of five years, with connecting zones in between (Protection Plan Hamster 2000-2004). Breeding program In 1999 15 animals (7 males and 8 females) were captured. They were taken to two breeding centres: Vereniging Das & Boom, a Dutch association dedicated to nature protection, and Rotterdam Zoo. In the year that followed four males and six females produced offspring, a total of 34 young (17m/17f) in seven litters. Using these animals breeding was continued in 2001, which resulted in 99 young (41m/58f) in 19 litters. Females easily produced two litters per season. Reintroduction was planned to start inspring 2002 and with these breeding results there would be more than enough animals available. While the first reintroduction took place in 2002, the breeding in captivity continued. That year females
In the 90's the number of European hamsters in Netherlands dropped dramatically. In 2003 common hamsters (Cricetus cricetus) were reintroduced into a reserve to strengthen a small population. Photo by Simone de Vries
were allowed only to have one litter, because the capacity of the breeding centres was limited. Another 124 young (63m/60f/1unknown) were born in the breeding centres in 2002. For 2003 it was decided to limit the breeding to roughly 100 young, to suit the needs for reintroduction and further breeding. In fact the breeding in this year did not go as smoothly as before (many `good' matings did not result in offspring), resulting in 82 young. The sex ratio was male biased (48m/34f). So in four years time 339 young (169m/169f/1unknown) were born in the breeding program. In the first three years litter size varied from 1 to 9, with an average of 5.04 (standard deviation 2.03). In 2003 the average litter size was slightly smaller (4.82) with a variation from 1 till 8. One-year-old animals had the best breeding results. In the year 2000 there were two two-year-old and six one-year-old females in the breeding program. Both older females did not breed, while all the younger females had one or two litters. Only one of these six female breeders, bred again in 2001 (even two litters), and also one two-year-old male. While in their first year all females had a regular oestrus cycle of four days, some twoyear-old females had an irregular
cycle. Both in males and females, the interest in mating seemed to decrease in the second year of life. When mating occurred, it did not always lead to a successful pregnancy. All these observations have led to the decision to focus mainly on one-year-olds in the breeding program. In some cases it was necessary to use older males, as the younger males are sometimes not big enough to breed. In a successful breeding pair the male is typically 100 grams heavier than the female. On a total of 66 litters in four years, three litters were bred from two two-year-old females and eight were bred from seven two-year-old males. Although it was clear that all founder animals could have been related to each other, the only known relation was of one female and her six offspring. This is documented in the studbook (Vries, S. de, 2002). For all the other animals the starting-off inbreeding coefficients (i.c.) were assumed to be zero. As the need to breed as much as possible in the first year was high and not all combinations turned out to be *Rotterdam Zoo, Postbus 532, 3000 AM Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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compatible, it could not be avoided to breed with the wild caught siblings. Two litters, with in total seven young, were born out of such a combination. These young had a rather high i.c. of 0.1250. Therefore the average offspring i.c. for 2000 was 0.0257. By forming unrelated pairs in 2001, the average offspring i.c. decreased to 0.0088. In 2002 it was almost impossible to form unrelated couples, because all animals were more or less related, resulting in an average offspring i.c. of 0.0542. In 2003 the average increased even more and it is clear that this coefficient will increase further in the years to come, if no fresh blood will be added to the breeding program.
female is supposed to be pregnant. She was then placed in one of the large cages and fed on a daily basis. If all went well, after a gestation period of 18 days the young were born in the cage. When the young were four to five weeks old, the cage was opened. By the time the first cage was opened it was July and the reserve could offer everything hamsters need. As a female hamster can easily produce two litters per season, some adult males were also introduced at this time, using the small cages.
Since the beginning of the project the small genetical basis of the captive population has been a cause for concern. Therefore co-operation with Germany and Belgium was saught. As a first result of this, one wild caught male hamster was imported from Belgium in August 2003. This single hamster was found to be the only inhabitant of a formerly well stocked hamster habitat in Flanders, Belgium. It is hoped that this one male will produce offspring in 2004.
Reintroduction in 2002 Experience in the breeding program has learned that Common hamsters hibernate from the end of September until April. In May the breeding season starts. With this in mind, the first reintroduction was planned to take place in mid-April 2002. Unfortunately, in February 2002 it became clear that there would not be a suitable area ready for reintroduction in early spring. The government had bought an area of 60 ha in Sibbe, but it was a monoculture of recently sowed wheat. The hamsters would neither have enough nutritional variety nor sufficient protection against predators. The reserve first had to be sown with a variety of different crops, especially alfalfa (an important food source and a good cover provider). The area was estimated not to be ready until July 2002. As it would not be wise to wait that long with the reintroduction, a new plan was developed. 25 Large cages (6 by 6 metres) were placed throughout the reserve, 50 metres from each other, in order to give pregnant females protection during their first weeks in the reserve. Also ten smaller cages (round, with a diameter of 2 metres) were placed for the males. At the end of April 2002, part of the captive population was brought to a new breeding centre, next to the reserve. It was thought to be too risky to travel long distance with pregnant females, so the mating had to take place close to the reserve. Females and males were brought together here to mate. If mating is observed and interest in breeding disappears (observed until five days after the mating), the
Acclimitisation cages. Photo by Simone de Vries Results 2002 In total 26 `supposedly pregnant' females were placed in cages. One of them did not survive and was replaced. Just before the cages were opened, we tried to catch all the animals inside. It turned out that at least 19 litters were born, with in total at least 95 young. The actual number is probably even higher. The caught offspring shows an average litter size of 5 (standard deviation 1.75). The average inbreeding coefficient of these young was 0.0630 (standard deviation 0.0051). The young were in general much larger than those born in captivity. An exact comparison is not possible, since the young in captivity are normally not weighed at such an early age. Table 1 illustrates the differences. It is unclear which factor is responsible for this difference in growth pace; the food offered in the cages was the same as in the breeding centres. A lot of the young in the reintroduction cages seemed ready to breed at an age of only five weeks, which was never the case in the breeding centres at that age. Probably some of the `free-born' young did already reproduce in the same season as they were born.
Table 1. The average weight (g) of hamsters born before June 13, in captivity (all litters) and in reintroduction cages (first 9 litters). (N = number of individuals)
Average age (range) (days)
31.3 (27-37)
62.0 (48-90)
2000 / 2001
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Alterra, a Dutch research institute, is responsible for monitoring the animals in the reserve. A number of adult hamsters were equipped with a radio transmitter placed in the abdominal cavity. Radio telemetry has shown that the hamsters do not stay in the reserve at all times, but do normally return after a few days. More males than females were found dead, predation being the main cause of death. Apparently the males take more risks going from one burrow to another, while the females stay in one place. One adult female was found dead with signs of a fight, probably killed by a cat or other small carnivore. This female was pregnant for the second time that season, so she had been impregnated in the wild. This justifies the thought that some females have produced second litters in 2002. Reintroduction in 2003 In the spring of 2003 a few dozens of hamsters woke up from hibernation in the reserve Sibbe. It was decided to reinforce this small population by adding animals from the breeding program. As the cages for pregnant females were still there, some females were impregnated before reintroduction. The cages for males were no longer used, so all the other animals were released in just a simple, hand-made burrow.
released animals have a lower survival rate. Risks are very high in the first week after release and than decrease. Males have a lower survival rate than females. Males are more active, have bigger territories and can move hundreds of metres per night. Females stay near the burrow and therefore have a lower predation risk. In Amby the average number of nests per female is estimated to be 2.2, while in Sibbe an average of 1.5 is estimated. In both cases this would be a very positive result. The death rates that can be derived from table 2 can easily be compensated by these birth rates. A detailed report from Alterra on the monitoring of the hamster will be ready in winter 2003/ 2004. Literature: 1. Krekels R., 12 September 1999, Stand van zaken hamsterinventarisatie 1999, Bureau Natuurbalans / Limes Divergens 2. Ministerie van Landbouw, Natuurbeheer en Visserij, 2000, Beschermingsplan Europese hamster 2000-2004 (Protection Plan Hamster 2000-2004) 3. Vries S. de, December 2002, Studbook European Hamster 2002, Rotterdam Zoo
At the same time a second area was ready for reintroduction in Amby. Roughly half of this area is managed by the same organisation as the reserve in Sibbe, the other half is managed by farmers who have a contract with the government. This Amby area is a bit smaller then Sibbe.
All animals except one were introduced between 22 May and 7 August. One pregnant female was brought to a cage on 12 August and she was not released until September. In table 2 the results of the reintroduction in 2003 are reproduced. The monitoring program shows that the best time to do a reintroduction is early spring. Later in the season the
Awaiting release. Photo by Simone de Vries Common hamster, born in captivity released into its wild habitat. Photo by Simone de Vries Below : Monitoring with Radio telemetry. Photo by Simone de Vries
Table 2. Number of animals reintroduced per area and the survival rate until end of August 2003
# Males # Females # Pregnant females Total Survival until end of August 2003
40 %
50 %
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Diversity and Abundance of Rodent Species at Harsh Parbat, Sikar, Rajasthan S. Chakraborty, R. Chakraborty, S. Pratihar and Q.H. Baqri*
In connection with the project "Studies on the faunal diversity of Thar desert in Rajasthan", extensive surveys are being conducted in the different Desert habitats of the state since 2000. From direct observation and systematic trapping, it has been found that almost all the habitats such as sand dunes, sandy arable lands, irrigated farms, fallows, dry deciduous forests, dry riverbeds, rocky hills and residential areas lying within the desert zone are abounding with huge populations of rodents, but with a very few number of species, usually one to five. However, during the survey of Harsh Parbat, Sikar district, relatively much greater species diversity combined with abundance was found. The present article describes the details of rodent species composition and their relative abundance at Harsh Parbat. Harsh Parbat (270 30'02" N, 75 10'29" E), a small section of Aravalli range, rises from about 10 km South east of Sikar town and its elevation goes up to about 936 m. near Harsh Nath Temple. Greater parts of the lower hills have been brought under cultivation of jowar, bajra and vegetables, while upper hills support only a few stray patches of cultivated land. Entire hill is rocky containing thin to moderate layer of top soil. Entensive plantation programme is being carried out in many parts of the hill. As a result entire Harsh Parbat looks greener than the surrounding plains. Important plant species are Aldusa, Churel, Thor, Solar, Dho, Agare, Peepal, Jhari, Eucalyptus and Prosopis. There are scattered growths of shrubs and grasses of different species. Only one metallic road of about 11 km. stretch goes from foothills up to the temple.
Table 1. Rodent species diversity and abundance at Harsh Parbat, Sikar district, Rajasthan.
Name of sp. Rattus rattus Cremnomys cutchicus Golunda ellioti Mus saxicola Mus musculus Millardia meltada Tatera indica
Tot. no. of spp. trapped 18 22 7 14 7 4 14
No. of specimens trapped with
Peanut Roasted Roasted
Butter Dry Fish Coconut
All the specimens of Golunda ellioti, two of Mus saxicola, one each of Rattus rattus and Tatera indica were collected either during inspection at 12.00 noon or 06.00 PM, while rest were obtained at 11.00 PM or 06.00 AM. Apart from the rodent species collected by trapping, a fairly good population of Funumbulus pennanti, and one specimen of Hytrix indica could be sighted in and around study plot during the surveys. From the study, it has been found that at least nine species of rodents occur at Harsh Parbat of which Cremnomys cutchicus appeared to be most dominant in the area.
Rodent Newsletter, 26(4): 15-16, 2002
The area was surveyed during November, 9-11, 2000 and September, 12-14, 2002 with special reference to mammalian species. On both the occasions, same stretch of sloping land of about 100 x 100 m. area just below Harsh Nath temple was selected for trapping. The altitude of the study plot varied from about 800-900 m. Only a small portion measuring about 18 X 24m of the said plot was under cultivation, while rest of the area was covered either by naked rocks or by various species of grass, shrubs and trees as mentioned above. A total of 120 snap traps were placed round the clock in five line transects. Three kinds of baits viz., roasted dry fish, roasted coconut and peanut butter were used in equal number of traps. Traps were inspected at 06.00 AM, 12.00 noon, 06.00 PM and 11 PM daily. Each time, baits were replenished with fresh material. Traps with specimen were removed at the time of each inspection, after setting a new trap at the same spot with same bait material. List of species along with number of specimens collected and bait preference are shown in Table 1.
*Desert Research Station, Zoological Survey of India, Jodhpur 342005
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Conservation Breeding and Reintroduction of Small Mammals (some of them pouched): the Native Species Breeding Programme at Perth Zoo Sally Walker*
A visit to the Native Species Breeding Programme at Perth Zoo is an experience in outstanding practice and implementation in zoo conservation as compared to the pompous theories and incorrect practice one sees in some zoos in this hemisphere. It is a refreshing change and a stimulus to recommitment to the tool of captive propagation as a conservation solution. Perth is located in Western Australia which has suffered from the wrongful introduction of the European fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the domestic cat (Felis catus). These are not the only species which have been introduced into Australia; there are many. These have, however, resulted in the decline of a number of native species -- many of them endemic marsupials -- to fragmented and isolated populations. These populations have been categorised as Threatened (either Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) under the IUCN Red List Criteria. Correction of the problem of introduced or "Alien" species has been undertaken by a government department known as CALM, the Department of Conservation and Land Management. CALM has done predator control which created an environment with conditions suitable for the native species to become re-established and recover. Enter the zoo or captive breeding. Zoos and captive propagation programmes have no meaning unless the conditions which caused decline or extirpation of native species are corrected. This is laid out clearly in the Guidelines of the SSC, IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group, but
are very rarely adhered in our part of the world. That, among many other reasons, is why there have been almost no genuinely successful reintroduction programmes in S. Asia. In Western Australia the wildlife authority and other organisations as well as the zoo work together to strengthen or re-establish threatened populations to the wild. The goal of the Native Species Breeding Program (NSBP) in Perth Zoo is to support threatened Species Recovery Plans by providing animals for release into the wild and conducting scientific research into the reproductive biology of threatened fauna. Some of the animals which are part of this programme are: Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) The numbat was once categorised as Endangered but has been reclassified as Vulnerable after CALM and Perth Zoo together re-established a number of populations which now total over 2000. The zoo bred 95 numbats since they started the programme in 1993 and provided 59 of them for release in sites selected by CALM. As the numbat is a specialised marsupial which eats only termites, the zoo had to establish and perfect a termite breeding facility. When we visited, they provided the guidelines for this to us for circulation to zoo professionals in South Asia who might require a supply of termites for captive populations. Keeper inspects animals in outdoor holding enclosures. Chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii) Chuditch is also called a quoll and is the largest marsupial predator in Western Australia. Although the Western quoll occurred in about 70% of Australia at the time of European
settlement, by late 1980's they were Endangered with less than 6000 left in SW Western Australia. Perth Zoo has bred 300 quolls for release; they have recategorised as Vulnerable. Special breeding box for mice Dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis) Dibbler (Endangered) is a small carnivorous marsupial which was found only on two islands off Western Australia. Perth Zoo has bred 134 island Dibblers, of which 86 have been released to one of the islands to establish a fresh population. More recently the mainland Dibbler has been the focus of recovery efforts. Perth Zoo is putting research and breeding efforts now into the recovery of the mainland Dibbler. Djoongari (Pseudomys fieldi) Also known as the Shark Bay Mouse, Djoongari (Vulnerable) was known only on one island prior to 1993. An estimated 6000-7000 population is all there are of one of Australia's most geographically restricted mammals. Perth Zoo has bred more than 150 Djoongari. Now 126 have been released to multiple sites in the NW Western Australia. These are being monitored by CALM. * Founder/Hon. Director, Zoo Outreach Organisation, PB 1683, Coimbatore 641004
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Research facilities at Perth Zoo - Perth Zoo has had a Director of Research since 1996 and a full research facility - Perth Zoo is one of the six nodes of the national programme "Marsupial Cooperative Research Centre" as a full research partner - As a result of this partnership, the Research Programme is fully funded. - Perth Zoo has had a Conservation Geneticist of its own since 1996. Findings from his studies have been used in preparation of management and translocation plans for these species. Fully equipped lab at NSBP, Perth Zoo - Perth Zoo and the Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management work together to reintroduce threatened fauna into their former ranges.
Another aspect which prevents a genuine conservation success in South Asian countries is the emphasis on large mammals which are expensive to keep, sometimes difficult to breed (but not always), difficult to move around for mixing gene pools, and almost impossible to reintroduce. All of the species taken up by Perth Zoo and CALM are small bodied mammals and reptiles. These have their own difficulties and problems but they also have many advantages, not the least of which is a short generation time and small body size. With these characteristics it is possible to keep and breed a large number of animals in a small space and in a short period of time. There is time for failures, experimentation and correction. When there is a success, the lift given to the staff and the zoo community in general is enormous. South Asian zoos and breeding centres have their own problems which perhaps Australian zoos do not, but there is no reason to think they could not achieve much with more practically directed effort. There is also no real reason why other institutions could not conduct captive breeding projects for small mammals such as rodents and insectivores. Penny Rudd of the Chester Zoo Harvest Mouse breeding programme kept the entire programme in her office, and looked after the mice, their records, etc. while holding down another job in the zoo.
Djoongari (Pseudomys fieldi) Shark Bay Mouse
Keeper with device for training small mammals to fear predators. Why is there no such facilities or cooperation in South Asia ? Although some countries in South Asia pay lip service to cooperation between wildlife agency and zoos, the lack of other elements and also the difficulty of genuine cooperation within a severe hierarchical service prevents the communication and respect for all parties necessary to achieve genuine cooperation.
There are a number of rodents and insectivores in South Asia which were assessed as threatened by IUCN and by the various national efforts. These could be bred with an eye to developing expertise and investigation done whether the habitat problems could be solved to justify reintroduction. A Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P.) workshop is coming up in 2004 in which more species will be assessed and categorised with recommendations for management for the entire group. If time permits species management plans will be written up for all threatened species. Such species are imminently "do-able" -- let's do it in South Asia. For further information on the programmes described in this article visit Perth Zoo website: http://
- Reprinted from Zoos' Print, 17(5): 1-2, February, 2002.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Training in Field Techniques and Taxonomy -- July 2002 Sally Walker*
A Training in Field Techniques and Taxonomy for Conservation of Rodents and Insectivores was held at the College of Veterinary Science, Kerala Agricultural University from 22-26 July 2002. The host/organizer at KAU was the College of Forestry. More than 56 biologists from 17 institutions and organizations participated in the workshop, 23 of which were zoology students and faculty from the College of Forestry, and 33 from various organizations in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The workshop was conceived and organized by the Rodent, Insectivore, Scandentia and Lagomorpha Conservation and Information Network of South Asia (RISLCINSA) and Zoo Outreach Organisation. The following organizations were collaborators in the workshop: Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, South Asia, Wildlife Information Liaison Development (WILD), the IUCN SSC Rodent Specialist Group, South Asia, The IUCN SSC Insectivore Specialist Group, South Asia, and the IUCN SSC Small Mammal Subgroup, Reintroduction Specialist Group. The workshop was fully sponsored by Knowsley Safari Park, United Kingdom.
insectivores from the perspective of wildlife and biodiversity conservation. RISLCINSA has more than 45 rodent specialists as members. RISLCINSA had undertaken two major projects for the year, i.) to conduct a training workshop in field techniques for rodent field biologists, and ii.) to conduct a Conservation Assessment and Management Plan Workshop (C.A.M.P.) for Rodents, Insectivores, Scandentia and Lagomorphs. Now, the number of projects has increased to include the coordination of rapid, presence/ absence surveys, absolute/relative density surveys and public education.
Kartik Shankar, Resource Person, shared his experience from surveying rodents in tropical ecosystems. Photo by S. Walker
Mike Jordan, Resource Person from UK, both lectures and listens. There were many Resource Persons among participants. Photo by S. Walker Background There are about 140 species of rodents, insectivores, scandentia, and lagomorphs which are found in South Asia, approximately 120 in India alone, or about 30% of all mammals found in this region. Approximat ely 38 are endemic to the region, meaning that they are found in one or more countries of South Asia and nowhere else. Of these numerous rodent species, only 10 are or have the potential to be economically destructive. Otherwise, rodents and insectivores play a vital role in the ecosystem by dispersing seeds, consuming vegetation, serving as prey for a large variety of small carnivores, and consuming insects. Considering the size and importance of this group of small mammals, RISCINSA was initiated in 2000 as a network to provide a catalyst for communication, collaboration and cooperation of field biologists studying rodents and
Workshop The training workshop covered a variety of conservation biology tools, including a great variety of field techniques for collection of populations and distribution information, preparation of specimen, elements of a CAMP workshop, to prepare participants for the upcoming exercise, the IUCN Red List. RISCINSA's external advisor, Dr. Mike Jordan of Sparsholt College, U.K., has had direct, hands-on, successful experience in conservation action with rodents and insectivores in conservation action with rodents and insectivores and was the main resource person. Dr. Jordan covered a wide variety of topics having to do with almost every aspect of field work. Other resource persons from within India were Dr. M.S. Pradhan of Zoological Survey of India, Dr. Kartik Shankar, Madras Crocodile Bank, Dr. R.S. Tripathi of the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur all of whom spoke on different aspects of Indian Rodents. Sally Walker, Sanjay Molur and B.A. Daniel from ZOO, WILD & RISCINSA coordinated and facilitated the workshop and introduced " BIO-NET" (an international institution which promotes taxonomy in developing countries), the CAMP *Founder/Hon. Director, Zoo Outreach Organisation, PB 1683, Coimbatore 641004
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process and IUCN Red List to participants. The workshop covered: -- Introduction to field techniques: Field trapping and monitoring techniques -- Case Studies from United Kingdom and India -- Small mammal diversity and conservation -- Practical workshop session on different techniques and equipment for handling and restraint, sexing of animals, and welfare issues -- Reintroduction planning and monitoring of small mammals ­ long term -- Field visits to nearby forested areas of Kerala Agricultural University -- Demonstration of animal handling from animal welfare as well as safety perspective -- Lab demonstration of cryopreservation, karyotyping and other procedures -- and other topics Several interactive sessions were conducted to discuss tasks which should be completed to prepare for the upcoming Conservation Assessment and Management Plan workshop and Global Mammal Assessment (Rodents and Insectivores). These included:
Prioritisation Project (BCPP) CAMP for Indian Mammals workshop due to lack of information or problems of nomenclature. Sources, both human and published, were identified for all these species and participants volunteered to track down missing information for some. Field surveys for non-protected forest and other forest grassland areas ­ strategies and protocol were established. Participants committed to conducting some surveys and individuals not present were identified to approach for possible collaboration in "presence/absence" and "absolute density" surveys. Examples of " other forested areas" are large college and university campuses, public parks, zoological parks, industrial complexes which are well vegetated with some undisturbed area. Nearly all participants committed to complete some task for the upcoming CAMP, whether individually or in an institutional effort. A small meeting was held of experienced participants involved in the technical planning of the CAMP and GMA to review the list of species of rodents (rats, mice, squirrels, porcupines), insectivores (hedgehogs, shrews), scandentia (trees shrews) and lagomorphs (hares) and then shortlist items of uncertainty to be researched. All items were tasked.
A C.A.M.P. workshop calls field biologists, taxonomists, foresters and other wildlife workers together to share their knowledge on a particular animal or plant group. The CAMP Workshop process uses the IUCN SSC Red List Criteria to assess species and subspecies and assign them to an IUCN SSC Red List Category. The categories decided by the group are communicated to the IUCN SSC Red List Authority. CAMP workshops provide a means for field biologists from range countries of the species to participate in the IUCN SSC Red Listing process directly. The IUCN SSC Red List of Threatened Species, which is accessible by anyone on the Internet, has replaced the old IUCN Red Data Books. The information collected and the categorization will be collected into a Report which will be widely circulated to policy makers, forest and wildlife officials, academic institutions studying wildlife, nongovernmental organizations, and others with an interest in wildlife.
Dr. Pradhan demonstrating how to measure rodents. Photo by Padma Priya
Mike Jordan with participants Data Deficient and Not Evaluated Species session ­ discussion of species which could not be assigned to an IUCN Red List Category at the 1997 Biodiversity Conservation
Participants watch Mike Jordan weighing a rodent in the field Photo by S. Walker
Zoo Outreach Organisation and CBSG, South Asia, with technical help from the IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group has evolved a 5 point conservation action "formula" for dealing with non-charismatic organisms. While animals like tigers and elephants get the "lion's share" of money, human resources, and press coverage, these animals are very few
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
compared to the smaller creatures. Tigers are "felids" of which there are only 30 odd species in all South Asia. Elephants belong to Proboscidea of which there is only one species in South Asia. By comparison, there are 131 species and 143 subspecies of bats, 140 species of rodent and insectivores, 330 species of amphibians, 600 species of reptiles and a staggering number of more than 80,000 known species of invertebrates. ZOO and WILD have created networks for these taxon groups and are pursuing a systematic conservation action strategy for them. It is
1. Network: network taxon specialists for each group through South Asia 2. Training: Field techniques, taxonomy, captive management for each group 3. Field studies: Coordinated through the network to pick up DD and NE spp. 4. Assessments: CAMP workshops for each group 5. Education: follow up CAMP workshops using most current information During the months between now and the Rodent CAMP Workshop, participants and other RISLCINSA network members will search for information about the 140 odd species of rodents, insectivores, tree shrews, and lagomorphs in literature, museums and in the field. RISLCINSA welcomes members from the following: field biologists specializing in rodents and insectivores who have an interest in biodiversity conservation, students with an interest in rodents, rodent taxonomists, and wildlife researchers studying other species for which rodents are prey. RISLCINSA is searching for all field biologists with hard data (published and unpublished) on the distribution, status, threats, etc. of rodents, insectivores. Think Rat! and contact us! Mike Jordan demonstrating the method of handling rodents after trapping List of participating institutions - College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur - Regional Research Station, VC farm, Mandya - Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur - Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka - Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh - Sparsholt College, Aparsholt, Hampshire, UK
Radio-collaring of rodents for reintroduction programmes and monitoring
- Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra - Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, Uttaranchal - Thrissur Zoo, Thrissur - Nehru Memorial College, Puthanampatti - Madras Crocodile Bank, Chennai - C.S. Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur - Department of Zoology, Osmania University, Hyderabad - Wildlife Information Liaison Development (WILD), Cbe - Zoological Survey of India, Pune - Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore
Names of participants: Abhilash, D. Achiyanda, Roshni Janardhana Animon, Mohammed Mymoon Arimboore, Lisha D. Arthur, Binu Bellur, Srinivas Reddy Chakravarthy, Akshay Kumar Chaudhary, Vipin Cyrus, Joseph Daniel, B.A. Elias, Ani Anna Ganapathiappan, Suresh Girija Pusshpom, R.P. Goonatilake, W.L.D.P.T.S. de A. Hassan, Mahmudul Idris, Mohammad Jayahari, Mr. Govindan, Jayant Jayaram, Jackin Jahan, Nusrat Jordan, Mike John Roger Jinsy M. Joseph Kabir, Kazi Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Safayet Kizhekkepurakkal, A.R. Kollanoor, Anup Johnys Krishnambika, Natalya
Kulankara, Anilkumar Lakshminarayan, Arun Maheswaran, Gopinathan Molur, Sanjay Mukherji, Shomen Muraleedharan, K.K. Navami, Sangeeth S. Neelanarayanan, P. , Ommer, Nameer Paingamadathil, Pillai, Karthik Vijayakumar Pradhan, Malhar Shyamsunderrao Priya, K. Padma Radhakrishnan, S.R. Ramamoorthy, Sangeeth Narayan Reddy, Prakash Shanker, Kartik Shenoy, Kausalya Siddhaarth, Mr. Siliwal, Manju S. Singh, Shiv Mangal Srinivasulu, Chelmala Thakur, Sanjay Singha Thekkedathu, Ritto Cyriac Tripathi, Rakesh Sharan Venkataraman, Meena Vipin, S.L. Walker, Sally
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
C.A.M.P. and Field Training -- two components of the ZOO/WILD/CBSG, South Asia Conservation Network Model
CBSG, South Asia is one of a suite of highly organized Networks hosted and administered by Zoo Outreach Organisation (Z.O.O.) and Wildlife Information Liaison Development (WILD) Society. However, the IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, to which the CBSG, South Asia Regional Network owes its name and many of its tools and talents, is the most influential of our networks. The combination of CBSG's mandate, techniques, processes philosophy and vitality create a framework around which all of our networks operate, synchronistically and systematically. ZOO, WILD, CBSG, South Asia and the other Networks work according to a five-part model or loop consisting of the following elements : Networking <-> Conservation Workshops <-> Training <-> Field studies and other field activities <-> Education /Awareness/Lobbying <-> Networking. The model works dynamically and stochastically, like this
and Conservation Training Workshop, reported in detail above. On the last day of the workshop, it was clear that our network members were very keen to do more field studies and use what they had learned. Some of them were studying other animal groups but could also do some rodent and insectivore studies if they were properly kitted out. The biggest gap in studies for most were the lack of Sherman traps -- safe for animals and humans, non-lethal and humane -- which are absolutely necessary for studying small mammals. So RILSCINSA proposed that if participants, led by Mike Jordan, would draw up a field studies protocol, we would raise funds for simple field studies. The funds were primarily for traps. It takes a minimum of 100 traps to cover even a small area and that adds up to Rs. 15,000 alone. Then there is the cost of travel, maintenance, etc. So we made "traps and travel" the target of our fundraising efforts and called for proposals. We had 15 applicants of which we accepted 12 and supplied them with "T&T." A review of their subjects and areas is on the following page. It was our first attempt to fundraise for field studies and it was an extemely successful beginning.
So now we have Networking <-> CAMPs <-> Training <-> Field studies in RILSCINSA conservation action plan -- only one to add, this is Education /Awareness/Lobbying. We will try to add that this year after the South Asian Non-volant Small Mammal C.A.M.P..
Our networks are systematic, more like organizations, with memberships (albeit complimentary), Directory of members, services for members and SSC Specialist Groups, searching for like-minded conservation scientists who might benefit by being linked to others and lobbying for legislative and social solutions to conservation problems. This took some time to evolve. In 1997, CBSG, India along with SACON organised an Indian Mammal C.A.M.P. for the Biodiversity Conservation Prioritisation Project (BCPP). One of the recommendations of the Rodent Working Group was for networking, training and funding for field studies. As there were very few members of the small mammal contingent of this C.A.M.P., the need for networking was clear, so in 2000 ZOO/WILD/CBSG, South Asia organised RILSCINSA. RILSCINSA began by catching up all the people we could find doing studies of rodents and insectivores, tasking them with finding information on Data Deficient Species from the C.A.M.P., and providing them with a communications mechanism. This we did without any grant or fund; we just pinched it from our t-shirt and card money. In 2001 we got a sponsor - the noble Knowsley Safari Park, in England, and we could plan much more, such as organised a Field Techniques, Taxonomy
Many, many thanks to our sponsors for all these components. They are listed below. Knowsley Safari Park, U.K. is our major donor for RILSCINSA. Knowsley sponsors the: -- RILSCINSA Network since 2000; -- Field Techniques Training Workshop, 2002; -- Non-Volant Small Mammal C.A.M.P., 2004 -- Reintroduction & Captive Breeding Training, 2004 -- Part of administration costs of ZOO/South Asia Miami Metro Zoo (via AZA Rodent TAG) Cleveland Zoological Park (via AZA Rodent TAG) Flora and Fauna International, North (via Chester Zoo) Marwell Zoological Gardens sponsored the 12 field studies SOS Rhino Universities Federation for Animal Welfare Chester Zoological and Botanical Gardens sponsor other administrative costs of ZOO/CBSG, South Asia
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Rodent Field Survey Projects ­ An Update Names of Applicants and Project details
Name: P.O. Nameer and M.M. Animon Institution: Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur Name of Project: Diversity and abundance of Rodents and Insectivores in the Kerala Agricultural University campus and Live Stock Research Station, Thiruvizhamkunnu Report: Mus booduga was most abundant in these areas. The most effective trap was found to be the Sherman trap. BIS submitted for: Bandicoota indica, Funambulus tristriatus, Millardia meltada, Mus booduga, Mus musculus, Mus platythrix, Rattus rattus, Suncus murinus, Tatera indica Name: Dr. Gopinathan Maheswaran Institution: Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai Name of Project: Survey of Hispid hare and other small mammals at Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary Report: About 30 individuals were trapped during the study period. More number of individuals were trapped from closed canopy forest area followed by grasslands with scattered trees. BIS submitted for: Caprolagus hispidus, Crocidura attenuata, Golunda elliotiLepus nigricollis, Mus cervicolor, Rattus rattus, Suncus murinus, Tupaia belangeri Name: C. Srinivasulu and Bhargavi Srinivasulu Institution: Osmania University, Hyderabad Name of Project: Surveys of non-volant small mammals in and around Hyderabad city, especially Osmania University Campus, Grasslands of Kurnool district, and Nagarjunasagar Srisailam TR Report: Excepting Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, surveys from other localities are completed. However, hoping to add more on existing information, trapping and surveys are still ongoing in these localities. BIS submitted for: Anathana ellioti, Bandicota bengalensis, Bandicota indica, Funambulus palmarum, Golunda ellioti, Hystrix indica, Lepus nigricollis, Manis crassicaudata, Millardia meltada, Mus booduga, Mus musculus, Mus platythrix, Petaurista philippensis, Ratufa indica, Suncus estruscus, Suncus murinus, Tatera indica, Vandeleuria oleracea Name: Ms. Kousalya Shenoy Name of Project: Small Mammals of Bangalore Report: Rattus rattus wroughtoni and Rattus blanfordi were the two dominant species. Habitat parameters were also analysed. BIS submitted for:Golunda ellioti, Millardia meltada, Mus platythrix, Rattus blandfordi, Rattus rattus rufescens, Rattus rattus wroughtoni, Suncus murinus, Tatera indica, Vandeleuria oleracea Name: Mr. A. Goonatilake Designation: Researcher, Department of Zoology Institution: University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Name of Project: Small mammal distribution of selected localities in Sri Lanka; a rapid assessment of Sri Lankan Rodents, Lagomorphs and Insectivores Report: Indirect observations (footprints, burrows, scats) were also carried out for identify the larger species (Squirrel, Hare, Porcupine etc.), other than trapping. BIS submitted for: Bandicota bengalensis, Bandicota indica, Cremnomys blanfordi, Crocidura horsfieldi, Crocidura miya, Funambulus layardi, Funambulus palmarum, Funambulus sublineatus, Feroculus feroculus, Golunda ellioti, Hystrix indica, Lepus nigricollis, Mus booduga, Mus fernandoni, Mus mayori, Millardia meltada, Mus musculus, Pteromys fuscocapillus, Petaurista philippensis, Ratufa macroura, Rattus motanus, Rattus
norvegicus, Rattus rattus, Suncus etruscus, Suncus fellowesgordoni, Suncus montanus, Suncus murinus, Srilankamys ohiensis, Solisorex pearsoni, Suncus zeylanicus, Tatera indica, Vandeleuria nolthernii, Vandeleuria oleracea Name(s): Kazi Ahmed Kabir, Mahamudul Hasan, Safayat Khan, Md Roushan Ali, Nusrat Jahan Institution: Dhaka University, Bangladesh Name of Project: Survey of Small Mammals at Bangladesh Report: Suncus murinus was found to be most abundant followed by Bandicota bengalensis. BIS submitted for: Bandicota bengalensis, Bandicota indica, Funambulus palmarum, Funambulus pennanti, Hystrix indica, Mus musculus, Nesokia indica, Rattus rattus, Ratufa bicolor, Suncus murinus, Tupaia glis Name(s): P. Neelanarayanan Institution: Nehru Memorial College Name of Project: Small Mammal Species Composition in Puthanampatti and Omandur Villages, Trichy Report: Suncus murinus was the most abundant species. BIS submitted for: Bandicota bengalensis, Bandicota indica, Funambulus palmarum, Millardia meltada, Mus booduga, Mus musculus, Rattus rattus, Suncus murinus, Tatera indica Name: Mr. Sanjay Sinha Thakur Address: Associated with ZSI Pune Name of Project: Survey for small mammals in Turanmal and Amba Valley and also of Ratufa indica spp. in Dangs Report: Not submitted yet BIS submitted for: Not submitted yet Name(s): Dr. Akshay Kumar Chakravarthy Institution: Regional Research Station, Mandya Name of Project: A Survey for Non-volant rodents in Western Ghats of Karnataka (Shiradi Ghat tracts) Report: In 52 days, 70 individuals of rodents of 7 species were trapped at five localities of 5 different habitats along Shiradi and Charmadi Ghats. BIS submitted for: Not submitted yet Name(s): Mr. Arun Lakshminarayanan and Mr. Suresh Ganapathiappan Institution: Individual researchers from Coimbatore Name of Project: Survey for rodents at Anaikatty, Coimbatore Report: Preliminary report submitted. Project ongoing BIS submitted for:Tatera indica Name(s): Ms. Meena Venkataraman Institution: Wildlife Institute of India Name of Project: Rapid survey of small mammals in Gir PA Report: Not submitted yet. BIS submitted for: Not submitted yet. Name(s): Mr. Sanjay Molur Institution: Wildlife Information and Liaison Development (WILD) Society Name of Project: Survey of small mammals at Coorg Report: Not submitted yet. BIS submitted for: Not submitted yet.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Occurrence of the Common Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista petaurista) in Sravasti Forest Division, Uttar Pradesh Devendra Kumar*
Common Giant Flying Squirrel in Sravasti Forest Division, Uttar Pradesh was sighted for the first time in 1997 by Sri Tung Nath Tiwari, Deputy Ranger, while marking the trees for felling. This was the first record for this area. After 1997, the Giant Flying Squirrel was repeatedly seen in the Bhinga and Kakardari forest ranges of this forest division, by many officials of this range. Since March 2003, I had sighted this animal frequently in the compartment number 1, 5, 27, 29, 32 and 45 of Bhinga Forest Block covering an area of 2375.10 hectares. According to Prater (1997), though this area is not a normal distribution range of Common Giant Flying Squirrel. The area bears Dry Sal Forest, the main species being Shorea robusta, Syzygium cumini, Dalbergia sissoo, Acacia catechu etc. The vast tract of Sal and Jamun trees are present with a good number of hollow trees and shadebearing trees like Ficus religiosa. Ficus racemosa, Ficus
bengalensis and Adina cordifolia trees are well distributed over the entire area. Studies are going on to determine its distribution limits in Uttar Pradesh. Acknowledgement The author is grateful to Mr. M. Zafar Varasi, President, Paryavarna Jeev Seva Sansthan, Gonda for providing help during survey. Reference Prater, S.H. (1997). The Book of Indian Animals (10th impression), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai. *Divisional Forest Officer, Sravasti Forest Division, DistSravasti 271 831, Uttar Pradesh
Project Rodent Bhubaneswar Samal*
Rodents, today play a vital role as experimental animals in laboratories. The need for laboratory animals has increased with increase in experimental methods in biology and medicine. One can say without exaggeration that great medical or biological discoveries have used only animals for testing and in ninety percent of these cases, the animals have been rodents. Initially rodents, particularly the rat, was used more as a "passive model" when scientists wished to study the life functions and compare them with humans. In the nineteen century, however, rodents became the standard experimental animals by biologist, medical doctors and chemists. Rodents as "biological reagents" are a familiar organisms, whose living conditions are easily standardized. Scientists has tested reactions by rodents to a wide variety or treatments, the injection of germs, administration of medicines, vitamins, radiation, the growth of spontaneous tumors and many more. Large numbers of test animals are exposed to these treatments so that scientists can obtained quantitatively valid results and compare and evaluate the results statistically. Scientific research in microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, harmonology and biological research on tuberculosis, cancer nutrition and radiation biology cannot be carried out today without rodents. Recently because of the frightening rise in birth deformities among humans, people demand that medicines used during pregnancy be tested carefully to ascertain whether it may cause deformities in the foetus or not. In this case, scientists need an "animal model" with a placenta that is as similar as possible to that of human, where the fertilized
egg was embedded in the mucous membrane similar to humans. So, rodents have been the most appropriate. Many tests are proven invalid because of infections in the experimental animals, so more germ-free animals are raised today under rigorously sterile conditions. The majority of the animals raised in this manner are rodents. The house mouse has been kept in laboratories as a basic experimental animal by geneticists, long before research proved how important the use of hereditarily pure animals were for obtaining scientifically valid results in the experiments. In 1930, P. Hertwigs, in Germany, has already studied the effect of X-rays on male mice and as a result, had obtained mutations in their offspring. These allowed him to study many inherited characteristics. The laws of inheritance apply to all creatures including humans. As important and indispensable laboratory animals, rodents have made possible many medical and biological discoveries, without which we would not have risen to the levels of health and well-being. Rodents are a food source for many carnivores and as modifiers of habitats. These animals play a very important role in the balance of nature. So we should endeavor to protect and safeguard rodents. * LB-65, BRIT Colony, Badagad, Bhubaneswar 751 018, Orissa
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Welcome to Andrew Smith, Lagomorph Specialist Group Chair
Editor's Note : A few months ago during our initial CAMP plans, it seemed sensible to include Lagomorphs in the network. It is a small mammal and a small group of mammals. When assessing rodents, insectivores, etc. it is easy enough to include Lagomorphs. Dr. Andrew Smith, Chair of the IUCN SSC Lagomorph Specialist Group, was happy to permit us to represent LSG in South Asia. There are two specialist group members in South Asia, Gopinathan Maheswaran from India who has studied Lagomorphs in Dudhwa, Jaldapara and Dudwa NPs, and Dr. Bhaiya Kanal, Kathmandu, Nepal. We have collected Dr. Smith's c.v. to share with you, and he has written a note. October 13, 2003
Curriculum Vitae Andrew Thomas Smith
Personal Birth Date Locality: Citizenship: Marital Status: Children :
14 March 1946; Glendale, California, USA United States of America Married to Harriet J. Smith J. Rachel and Justine
Education University of California, Berkeley, A.B. Zoology, 1968 University of California, Los Angeles, Ph.D. Biology, 1973
Areas of Specialization Conservation Biology, Population Biology, Behavioral Ecology, Mammalogy
Dear RILSCINSA Newsletter: As Chair of the IUCN/SSC Lagomorph Specialist Group, I would like to congratulate all those associated with RILSCINSA. The very idea of such a regional network of specialists who concentrate on small mammals is terrific and especially in an area of the world where we are so in need of data syntheses on these forms. Sally and her colleagues are to be thanked, as well as all the specialists who are taking part in this venture. There are not as many lagomorphs as other taxa, but we do have some very special forms (the Hispid Hare), and some quite enigmatic ones (some of the isolated pika populations in the north). I look forward to our C.A.M.P. and to the opportunity to work closely with everyone on the RILSCINSA team. Best Wishes, Andrew Smith Chair, IUCN/SSC Lagomorph Specialist Group School of Life Sciences Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287-4501 USA Dr. Andrew T. Smith School of Life Sciences human dimensions of Biology Box 874501 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287-4501 USA Phone: ++.480.965.4024 FAX: ++.480.965.6899 e-mail: [email protected]
Academic Appointments -- University of California, Los Angeles Teaching Associate, 1968-1972 -- Department of Zoology, University of Alberta, Edmonton Sessional Lecturer, 1973-1974 -- Department of Zoology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Assistant Professor, 1974-1978 -- Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables Adjunct Assistant Professor, 1978-1980 -- Department of Biology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Assistant Professor, 19781983 -- Department of Zoology , Arizona State University, Tempe Associate Professor, 1983-1991 --Department of Zoology, Arizona State University, Tempe Professor, 1991-present --Department of Biology, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Species, -- Sabbatical Leave, 1994 --Survival Programe, Gland, Switzerland, IUCN-The World Conservation Union - US -- Senior Research Fellow, 1999 - present -- University of Sydney, Sabbatical Leave, 2001 Institute of Wildlife Research Professional organisations American Society of Mammalogists Animal Behavior Society Ecological Society of America Society for Conservation Biology PUBLICATIONS (last 5 years; 118 total) [Readers may contact RILSCINSA Administrator for an email list of these publications.
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Report on the Rodent Ecology and Management Course held at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines P. Neelanarayanan*
I got an opportunity of attending "International Course on Rodent Ecology and Management" held at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Las Banos, Laguna State, Philippines between 19th May 2003 and 06th June 2003. This three week course was jointly sponsored by the IRRI, Philippines; the ATSE Crawford Fund (An Australian NGO); Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR); and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia. This course was designed to give importance to strong ecologically based approach to rodent management in rice related ecosystems. The main aims of the course were: (1) to minimize rodenticide usage, (2) to develop methods of rodent pest management that are consistent with sustainable agriculture and are environmentally benign and (3) to have positive impact on living conditions of rural communities through improving their income and health. The course also covered sociological aspects of pest management, rodent taxonomy, community ecology, rodent diseases (impact on rodent populations and the effect of rodent borne diseases on domestic animals and humans), a systems approach to pest management and a variety of field and analytical techniques. Dr. Grant Singleton, IRRI consultant for Rodents and Leader, CSIRO Community Ecology Group, Canberra, Australia organized this course. The training team included 1. Prof. Charles J. Krebs, Emeritus Professor of Zoology at the University of British Columbia and Honorary Research Fellow in the CSIRO Community Ecology Group, Canberra, Australia. 2. Dr. Ken Aplin and 3. Mr. Peter R.Brown of CSIRO Community Ecology Group, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Canberra, Australia and 4. Dr. Zahirul Islam, Project Scientist, Entomology and Plant Pathology Division, IRRI, Philippines. Sixteen participants attended this course. They were drawn from 8 Asian, 2 African and 1 European countries and one from Australia. Asian participants were from Bangladesh (Two), Cambodia (One), India (One- It's me), Indonesia (Two), Lao-PDR (One), Myanmar (Two), Papua New Guinea (One) and Philippines (Two). There were two Africans one each from Sudan and Tanzania. Australia and Portugal countries represented by one each participant. There was one observer from United Kingdom. Of the three weeks, first week's sessions were handled by Prof. Charles J. Krebs and Dr. Grant Singleton. During this week, we were enlightened about the theoretical aspects of wildlife management, principles of ecologically based rodent management, ecological methodologies, population-modeling exercises in Excel, community ecology, relationship between disease and population regulation and biological control of rodents ­
Immunocontraception (still under laboratory trials). We were instructed to do population-modeling exercises on Age structured population projection and Rodent population projection. Population modeling exercises: 1. Age structured population projection In this model, birth and death rate detail on different age classes is used to determine the population growth rate. It has an advantage of allowing you to start with an uneven age structure. In this model only female sex class is included (females giving rise to more females) and males are ignored. We used Age_Structured_Population_ Projection.xls program that was available in the computer. 2. Rodent population projection This exercise uses the program Rodent_Population_Projection.xls to determine the details of population change in a rodent species that has a given age structure and a specified set of birth and death rates. It is similar to the previous program, however, it is in general suited to the rodent life cycle. In this model, age classes are specified as juveniles, subadults instead of ages. Further, this program allows one to set the time period over which an individual will remain in a stage before moving into next stage. Similar to the previous one, this is a model of female rodents giving to female rodents. Prof. Charles J. Krebs one of the resource persons of this course developed both the above-cited models. At the middle of second week the participants were divided into four groups. Each group was given a short-term project. Each participant of course was allowed to involve himself/herself in all four short-term projects on a rotation basis. The title and details of each group project are: Group 1: Management of rats in the field; decision analysis and survey of farmers Group 2: Radio tracking and line and spool tracking of rice field rodents Group 3: Trapping of rodents in the forest of Mount Makiling adjoining to IRRI farm Group 4: Survey of incidence and taxonomy of rodents in and around urban environments Acknowledgement I thank Dr. A.M.K. Mohan Rao, NPPTI, Hyderabad; Dr. Grant Singleton ; Staff of IRRI-India office, New Delhi, Training center, IRRI, Las Banos, Laguna, Philippines, Management and Principal of Nehru Memorial college for permitting and encouraging me to attend this course. *Department of Zoology, Nehru Memorial College, Puthanampatti-621 007, Tiruchirappalli ­ Dt. Tamil Nadu, India. E-mail: [email protected]/[email protected]
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
Rodents in the News
Rats can be ideal landmine detectors People who think of rats as vermin may wish to reconsider, With proper training, the animal could turn out to be man's best friend, at least if the main in question lives in an area with unmapped minefields. Apopo, a Belgian charity, is exploring the use of African giant pouched rats, prized hitherto only for their meat, as biosensors capable of locating landmines. The idea of using animals to find mines is hardly new. Researchers have studied ways to harness `bees and cockroaches' keen senses of smell to detect explosives, and dogs are already used in de-mining work. But according to Ron Verhagen, the chief scientist at Apopo, rats offer a number of advantages when it comes to locating mines. First, despite their impressive size for a rodent (25 cm from nose to tail when full grown), they are too light to set off mines if they tread on them. They are also faster learners than dogs, and their behaviour is easier to decipher and control than an insect's. Unlike dogs, rats do not require the care and attention of dedicated trainer. Since they live on a diet of nuts and fruit, they are cheaper to feed than their canine competitors. They are easier to house and transport than dogs, and being African animals, are immune to most of the tropical diseases that afflict imported dogs. The rats only weakness is that they are nocturnal, and therefore prone to heat stroke. To train their rats, Apopo's scientists blow air containing explosive traces at the animals. Using food rewards-bananas and avocados ­ the researchers have taught their rats to signal what they sniff by pushing levers. The 80 or so rats, known as Victor, Stefan, Nicholas and so on, are able to detect smaller amounts of explosive than most existing biosensors.
Giant rodent found Hate cleaning pet cages? It could be worse. At least your guinea pig isn't the size of a buffalo like the now-extinct creature described by paleontologists on Friday. Living in then-lush marshes in Venezuela six million years ago, the 1,500- pound Phoberomys (FOE-ber-o-mees) weighs in as the largest rodent ever discovered. The discovery of two fossil skeletons, including a nearly complete one nicknamed "Goya" is reported in Science magazine. "It looks like a very large guinea pig, only the animal had a long tail, "says paleontologist Marcelo Sanchez-Villagra of Germany's Tubingen University. He led the research team that discovered the fossils in an arid region of northern Venezuela. Only a few fragmentary fossil teeth of the creature had previously been uncovered, making size estimates uncertain. Nine feet long and 4.2 feet tall, Phoberomys had a long tail to help balance its weight as it moved. The researchers also have found trace fossils of jumbo crocodiles that probably preyed on the rodents. Competition from North American animals and a changing climate likely led to the giant rodent's extinction, says Sanchez-Villagra. - USA Today Published in `H.T' ­ New Delhi, 20/09/03.
Apopo is exploring two ways of putting the rats to work. One would be to use the rats directly to detect landmines: they would be taught to scratch at the soil to indicate a mine. The alternative is the opposite idea, having the rats confirm areas to be free of mines. This would involve using mobile Field laboratories keeping the rats caged and cool and collecting soil samples for them to sniff for explosives.
Following two years of laboratory work in Belgium, Apopo scientists have now moved to Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, where they are conducting field tests with local scientists. The charity is also planning to conduct tests in Angola, in conjunction with Menschen gegen Minen, a German de-mining organisation. If all goes well, Victor, Stefan and their colleagues could graduate from providing protein to sweeping for mines within the next two years (The Economist)
-Times of India", New Delhi ,14/08/2001"
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003
...Continued from Page 1 Mr. Sanjay Molur Zoo Outreach Organisation, PB 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore 641004, Tamil Nadu Ms. Divya Mudappa 8/364 Coperative Colony Valparai 642 127, Tamil Nadu Mr. Shomen Mukherjee Mitrani Dept. of Desert Ecology Ben-Gurior University of Negev Sede Boker Campus 84990, Israel Dr. (Mrs.) Krishnoji Rao Muktha Bai Scientist, Food Protection and Infestation control Department, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570013, Karnataka Dr. P. Neelanarayanan Lecturer, Department of Zoology, Nehru Memorial College, Puthanampatty 621007 Mr. Nameer Paingamadathil Ommer Asst. Professor, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University Thrissur 680656, Kerala Dr. Vir Rajinder Parshad Scientist, Senior Zoologist (Rodents), Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141004, Punjab Dr. Malhar Shyamsunderrao Pradhan Deputy Director, Scientist ­ D, Zoological Survey of India, WRS Vidyanagar, Sector. 29, Rawet Road, PCNTDA Post, Pune 411044, Maharahtra Ms. K. Padma Priya Research Assistant, Zoo Outreach Organisation, PB 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore 641004, Tamil Nadu Ms. Nandini Rajamani Student, 20-A, Murrays Gate Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600018, Tamil Nadu Mr. Tahir Rasheed House # D-1, Wahdat Colony, Brewary Road Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan Dr. Ali Reza Wildlife Biologist, Assistant Programme Officer, IUCN Bangladesh Country Office House #3A, Road #15 (New) Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh Dr. Karthik Shankar H-6/2, Habib Complex, DurgabaiDeshmukh Road, RA Puram, Chennai 600 028, T.N. Dr. Chander Sheikher Lecturer/Researcher, Department of Entomology and Agriculture, Dr. Y.S. Parmer University of Horticulture & Forestry, Solan 173230, Himachal Pradesh
Ms. Kausalya Shenoy 104, Vijay Mansion, Ist Main Vijaynagar, 2nd Stage Bangalore 560040, Karnataka Dr. Tej Kumar Shrestha Professor, G.P.O. Box 6133 Kathmandu, Nepal Ms. Manju P. Siliwal Research Associate Zoo Outreach Organisation 29/1, Bharathi colony, Peelamedu Coimbatore 641004, Tamil Nadu Dr. Andrew Smith Chair, IUCN/SSC Lagomorpha Specialist Group, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Human Dimensions of Biology, Arizona State University, Tempe AZ 85287-4501, USA Dr. Pankaj Sood Assistant Entomologist, MAREC, Sangla (Kinnour) ­ 172106, Himachal Pradesh Dr. (Mrs.) Shakuntala Sridhara Scientist-Professor, AICRP on Rodent Control, University of Agricultural Sciences, College of Agriculture, GKVK, Bangalore 560065, Karnataka Mr. Shiv Mangal Singh Assistant Professor of Entomology Dept. of Entomology C.S. Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Dr. Chelmala Srinivasulu Research Associate Dept. of Zoology, Wildlife Biology section University College of Science Osmania University, Hyderabad 500007, AP Dr. Dinesh Chandra Srivastava Government service, Entomology Division, Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Dilkusha, Lucknow 226002, Uttar Pradesh Mr. Shyamkant Sukhadeorao Talmale Zoological Survey of India Sector-29, Ravet Road P.C.N.T. D.A. Post, Pune 411 044 Mr. Sanjay Singha Thakur 666/1, Bhoi-Ali, Raviwar Peth, Talegaon Dabhade, Pune 410 506, Maharashtra Dr. Moni Thomas Scientist, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Shahdol 486001, Madhya Pradesh Dr. Rakesh Sharan Tripathi Senior Scientist (Rodent Control), AICRP on Rodent control, Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur 342 003 Ms. Meena Venkataraman Wildlife Institute of India, P.B. 18, Chandrabani Dehra Dun, 248001, Uttaranchal Ms. Sally Walker Admin. Chair, RILSCINSA, C/o Zoo Outreach Organisation, PB 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore 641004, Tamil Nadu
Rat - a - tattle
Sally Walker
Editorial advisors :
Sujit Chakraborty
Sanjay Molur
Editorial assistant:
Padma Priya; Binu Arthur
Sonali Lahiri
Rat - a - tattle is the occasional Newsletter of the Rodentia, Insectivora, Scandentia and Lagomorpha Conservation & Information Network of South Asia or RILSCINSA. This is Vol.3, No.1, October 2003. RILSCINSA is for Ratters in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Rat - a - tattle and the activities of RILSCINSA are fully funded by the Knowsley Safari Park, North England, United Kingdom. RILSCINSA, 29-1, Bharathi Colony, Peelamedu Coimbatore 641 004 T.N. Ph. 422 2563 159 Fx. 422 2563 269 Email : [email protected]
Rat-a-tattle - RILSCINSA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, October 2003

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