Ooty: Western Ghats appears to be the home of the Kangaroo’s cousin, a species in the Marsupial family of the Kangaroos, if one goes by the claim made by Kerala based conservation biologist and researcher Dijo Thomas, as he intensified his studies on Raktha Athika, otherwise known as Vampire Kangaroo, which was spotted a couple of times in Tirusuur area in Kerala three years ago.
It is pertinent to note that Dijo Thomas hit the headlines recently for his discoveries regarding a species and sub-species relating to a dog hunter wild animal, that includes Neelagiri kaduva & Neelagiri cheruvan.
Stating that he submitted his findings with photographic evidence at the Indian science congress in 2017 itself, he said this Raktha Athika was wrongly interpreted as palm civet cat in the initial stages in Kerala. But, after studying its morphology and behavior, it was confirmed it was a new species which most probably is a distant cousin of Kangaroo family or family of marsupials.“But, what is very distinctive is that unlike the Kangaroo, which is herbivorous, this Raktha Athika, belong to a different species, is a blood sucker. Its morphological features show that it has webbed hand that proves it is a good swimmer also,” he said.
“Many wonder what is the connection between Kangaroo which is Australia based and this Raktha Athika which lives in India. But, one looks at the evolution angle one can draw conclusion that there is a possibility of a sub-species or an ancient species of Kangaroo family living in Western ghats. Since, this Raktha Athika is a rare and rarely spotted animal, it is obvious, the presence of this animal with marsupial traits has not come to the fore now,” he explained and added that more studies in western ghats in deep woods is needed to arrive a further inference on this species which must have ancient history like dinosaurs....