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Endangered Mount Graham red squirrel population growing

Squirrel native to Ariz. gets a little less lonely
AZGFD Mount Graham Red Squirrel-GA-1.jpg
Posted at 7:28 AM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 09:28:47-05

PINALEÑO MOUNTAINS, Ariz. — The Arizona Game and Fish Department says the Mount Graham red squirrel population has increased four percent.

The endangered animal is native to the Pinaleño Mountains in Arizona.

Back in February, only 75 of the squirrels were still alive.

Now, reports say at least 78 exist.

Most of the squirrel's habitat was severely damaged by the Frye Fire in the Pinaleño Mountains two years ago.

“Much work must be done to help conserve and protect this resilient, intrepid animal, but consistent estimates of the population since the fire are encouraging for the Mount Graham red squirrel’s overall recovery,” said Tim Snow, AZGFD terrestrial wildlife specialist. “This squirrel has faced significant, daunting challenges, but the Arizona Game and Fish Department and our partners will continue our work to give it a fighting shot at survival.”

Before the fire, the squirrel's population ranged from 200 to 300. They have been labeled as an endangered species since 1987.