The Last Refuge of the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel

The Last Refuge of the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel


Ecology of Endangerment
edited by H. Reed Sanderson and John L. Koprowski

University of Arizona Press, 2009

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Reviewed in The Nature Pages

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When the University of Arizona announced plans to build observatories on Mt. Graham, atop the Pinaleño Mountains, the construction was seen as a potential threat to an isolated species found only on this sky island. The Mt. Graham red squirrel was declared “endangered” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Legal action required the university to provide funds for research and monitoring the Mt. Graham red squirrel.






This book is derived from a symposium on the Mt. Graham red squirrel and offers a comprehensive picture of the ecology of this red squirrel and the impacts on its mountain home. Forty contributors detail studies conducted to understand the natural history of the creature and the challenges and changing ecological conditions on Mt. Graham.

Each chapter tells a unique story that contributes to the mosaic of natural history knowledge about the endangered Mt. Graham red squirrel. They reflect diverse viewpoints on the problems of conserving the habitats and populations of the squirrel, showing how it was complicated by perspectives ranging from Native Americans’ concern over traditional lands to astronomers’ hope for a better view of space, and by issues ranging from forestry practices to climate change. Studies of such factors as squirrel middens, seed hoarding, and nest sites provide definitive research on the animal.

Ongoing censuses continue to track the squirrel’s population trends, and both Forest Service and Arizona Department of Transportation activities continue to be scrutinized by interested parties to determine their impact. This book represents an authoritative overview of this still-endangered species and its habitat.


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