Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service Completes Initial Reviews on ESA Petition for Mount Graham Red Squirrel

September 6, 2019

Contact(s):

Aislinn Maestas, aislinn_maestas@fws.gov, 505-331-9280
Alejandro Morales, alejandro_morales@fws.gov, 602-889-5954


The Mount Graham red squirrel's historical and current range is limited to the Pinaleño Mountains in Graham County, Arizona. Credit: Marit Alanen/USFWS.

The Mount Graham red squirrel's historical and current range is limited to the Pinaleño Mountains in Graham County, Arizona. Credit: Marit Alanen/USFWS.

PHOENIX, Arizona -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed initial review of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) petition for the Mount Graham red squirrel. The Service concluded that the petition requesting critical habitat designation for the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel presents substantial information indicating that revising critical habitat for this species may be warranted.

The Mount Graham red squirrel is a small, grayish-brown arboreal subspecies weighing a mere 8 ounces and measuring about 8 inches in length, with a 6-inch long fluffy tail.  Its historical and current range is limited to the Pinaleño Mountains in Graham County, Arizona, where it currently occurs in high-elevations down to approximately 7,500 feet.  The squirrel was originally listed as endangered in 1987 due to a reduction in range and habitat from forest fires, road construction and other development. In 1990, the Service published a final rule designating critical habitat in three units of dense stands of mature spruce-fir forest, for a total of about 2,000 acres. 

On December 14, 2017, the Service received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity requesting that critical habitat for the Mount Graham red squirrel be revised under the Act. Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that revising critical habitat for the Mount Graham red squirrel may be warranted. The Service’s conclusion is based primarily on new information indicating significant changes to the forest currently designated as critical habitat and regarding the squirrel’s use of habitat previously considered to be of lesser importance.

The ESA allows citizens to petition the Service to add species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, remove species from the list, and to reclassify species already on the list.

The Federal Register docket number and link for the substantial petition finding are:

Species

Range

Docket Number

Docket link

Mount Graham red squirrel

AZ

FWS-R2-ES-2019-0084

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FWS-R2-ES-2019-0084

 

The notice for the above findings will be available in the Federal Register Reading Room on September 6, 2019 at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection on the 2019 Notices link under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please go to www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.