26 December 2007

In U.S., red squirrel's the comeback kid

The news from Arizona is encouraging, at least where the local red squirrel is concerned.

Like the native red squirrels in Britain, this tiny American southwestern creature has also been besieged, and threatened with disappearance. This variety of squirrel (a subspecies of the American red squirrels) is found only in the southeastern part of Arizona, on Mount Graham, and its shrinking numbers were considered a result, in part, of habitat destruction from fires, other natural occurrences and - perhaps - construction of a large research facility there.

And now there is word of a turnaround, or at least the start of one. According to a recent Associated Press report, the fall count showed that the numbers had grown to 299 from a slightly smaller 276 the previous year. Seven years ago however, there were 550 red squirrels in that region.

Bravo for little Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis.

To many residents of Arizona, or at least that part of the state, seeing red may indeed be a very good thing.

I can't say I disagree, not one bit.

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