Rebuild South Carolina’s fox squirrel population (video)

Fox squirrel origin An Americanism from 1675–85 Dictionary.com Unabridged Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Inc. Web references for fox squirrel History of the fox squirrel. Gray squirrels and fox-squirrel young devour the buds, blooms, and cone-shaped fruit. Lippincott’s August 1885. A huge red-gray squirrel is a fox squirrel in the West and South.

Southern Carolina used to have a lot of fox squirrels. According to a Clemson Cooperative Extension Service assistant professor, it can. Fox squirrels have been living in South Carolina forests for thousands of years. Today, urbanization threatens their habitats. Corey Heaton, an assistant professor at the forestry and environmental conservation department, intends to reverse the effects of urban sprawl on the fox squirrel population.

With help from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Heaton is helping to rebuild the fox squirrel population at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center (REC). If this project succeeds, it may serve as a model for the state.

“The Midlands of South Carolina used to have pine trees and fox squirrels,” Heaton added. The area’s trees have recently been felled to make way for commercial buildings. According to Small, many of the trees removed are longleaf pines, which fox squirrels like. Officials fear that cutting down these trees and not replacing them has reduced the state’s fox squirrel population.

Urbanization and other changes have divided fox squirrel habitat, resulting in isolated populations. “We end up with isolated squirrel populations that cannot repopulate if they are extirpated. Many creatures lose habitat when it is destroyed. On the Research and Education Center’s grounds, longleaf pine trees will be planted to support fox squirrels. Heaton said 20-30 adult fox squirrels will be released soon at Sandhill REC. This will help researchers figure out the best way to reintroduce fox squirrels in South Carolina.

“We will release the squirrels in various habitat types on the station,” Heaton added. “We can track which habitat types perform best for relocating. Our success will allow us to equip developers with the best management strategies for promoting fox squirrel populations.”

Heaton said the squirrel’s release date would be disclosed. The fox squirrel will become a permanent resident at the Research and Education Center with any luck. We can use this technique to improve habitat in isolated areas and as a lesson on adjusting development practices, said Small, who added that improving habitat will help the state’s fox squirrel population.

Authorities have been monitoring the South Carolina fox squirrel population for years. In 1994, the DNR began conducting statewide fox squirrel surveys. Small said the surveys are done on odd-numbered years. The department and other agencies record sightings of fox squirrels and habitat data.

The 2014 study found 718 fox squirrel sightings, down 312 from the 2012 survey. The number of counties reporting fox squirrels fell from 28 in 2012 to 21 in 2014. Watch the video below.

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