(Photo: Big Bear, CA by inkknife_2000)
Western Gray Squirrels are native to California and are an important member of the San Bernardino Mountains wildlife community. They inhabit oak and conifer forest ranging from southern California to northern Washington. Over the last few years the Western Gray Squirrels of the San Bernardino Mountains have experienced dramatic population declines caused by a skin disease called mange. Mange is a contagious skin disease caused by parasitic mites that burrow into the skin of affected animals causing intense itching and infection.
We responded to local reports of dead and dying squirrels and population crash by initiating surveillance, research, and management goals that can help understand and solve this problem. Collaborators on this project include California Fish and Game Inland Desert Regional Program and Wildlife Investigations Lab, the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab and YOU!
To learn more about the current squirrel population status in the San Bernardino Mountain community we need your help! We are trying learn about squirrels in the Big Bear Valley, so that we may better understand their past abundance, where you may have seen sick squirrels, and where you see squirrels now, to help us track their recovery.
What you can do:
We will be using the information provided in these surveys to help construct a picture of what is happening with the squirrels in the San Bernardino Mountain community from the past to the present. This will help us to determine what conservation measures need to be instituted to prevent further squirrel loses.
Progress Report 11/12/12