Delmarva Fox Squirrel To Be De-Listed
Delmarva Fox Squirrel Now Proposed for Removal from Endangered Species List, Decades of Conservation Efforts by Land Owners and Land Developers
Larger than other squirrel species and generally not found in urban areas, the Delmarva fox squirrel ranged throughout the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) Peninsula before experiencing a sharp decline in the mid-20th century due to clearing of forest for agriculture and development, short-rotation timber harvest and over-hunting. With its range reduced more than 90 percent, the squirrel was one of 67 species listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967, the predecessor law of the Endangered Species Act, which was enacted six years later. With more than 80 percent of this squirrel’s home on private land, Delmarva residents played a major role in the recovery of this species with many providing habitat for squirrels on private lands across the range. The squirrel has thrived on the rural, working landscapes of the peninsula where mature forests mix with agricultural fields.
Since listing, the squirrel’s range has increased from four to 10 counties, with a current population of up to 20,000 squirrels covering 28 percent of the Delmarva Peninsula. Efforts contributing to recovery include translocation of animals to establish new populations, closing of the targeted hunting season, growth and dispersal of the population, and protection of large forested areas for habitat.
The species remains protected under the ESA until the Service reviews all public comments on its proposal and makes a final decision to remove the species from the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife. If the Delmarva fox squirrel is delisted, a post-delisting monitoring plan would ensure the squirrel remains secure from extinction.
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U. S. Fish & Wildlife Announcement: