November 15, 2013

Endangered Red Squirrel Population Shows Growth

AZ Game and Fish Dept. says 272 were counted in Mount Graham during its annual survey.

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The endangered Mount Graham red squirrel population is doing better this year, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Wildlife officials said 272 red squirrels were spotted this year in the Pinaleño Mountains, within the Coronado National Forest.

Game and Fish said that 59 more of squirrels were seen compared to last year.

The red squirrel lives only in the upper elevation conifer forest of the Pinaleño Mountains, and primarily eats cones from the trees.

“With small mammals you are going to get good years when food resources are available, you are going to get spikes in the population," said Tim Snow, regional nongame specialist with the department. "And as long as you have good cone crop and you’re not having insect outbreaks or big fires then the squirrels… produce more young.”

The Mount Graham red squirrel population usually ranges between 200 and 300 animals, Snow said.

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