Arizona Game and Fish Department had this to say about the Mt. Graham red squirrel today:
So you know, don't worry. Yet.As part of a conservation program for the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted an annual squirrel survey and estimated approximately 214 animals in the Pinaleño Mountains in southeastern Arizona.
The latest survey count is in line with the population numbers found in 2010, but represents a decrease of 26 squirrels from the 2011 estimate.
Small mammal species like the Mount Graham red squirrel typically have cyclical populations that depend on the conifer cone crop, their primary food resource. Biologists continue to explore new ways to conserve the species, including habitat improvements, squirrel research and consideration of a pilot captive breeding program.
The Mount Graham red squirrel population spiked to around 550 animals in the late 1990s, but typically ranges between 200 and 300 individuals. Habitat losses caused by fire and insect infestations and poor cone crops caused by drought are considered primary factors in the species’ recent trends.
P.S.: You too can own an Angry Red Squirrel shirt, by shopping at Peace Supplies. Tell 'em we sent you.