More Delmarva Fox Squirrels Relocate To Sussex Co.
Redden State Forest is now home to four Delmarva fox squirrels.
Two males and two females of the rare species were relocated from Maryland to the Delaware Forest Service Headquarters Tract as part of a management program. The Fox Squirrel was removed from the federal endangered species list in 2015, and while now abundant on the Maryland Eastern Shore they are still rare in Delaware.
A population of squirrels that was translocated to the Assawoman Wildlife Area appears to be thriving, according to the Department of Natural Resources. A Delmarva Fox Squirrel population also exists at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge as the result of a translocation in the 1980s. A naturally-occurring population also makes its home at the Nanticoke Wildlife Area and surrounding lands.
DNREC provided more details below:
Unlike many of its squirrel relatives, the Delmarva fox squirrel is very slow to expand its range and colonize new territories. In 2014, the Division of Fish and Wildlife developed a Delmarva Fox Squirrel Conservation Plan in collaboration with stakeholders, including representatives from state and federal agencies, Sussex County government, non-governmental conservation organizations, researchers, developers, and local landowners to increase the number of Delmarva fox squirrels in Delaware.
After a feasibility assessment on methods for reintroduction, the plan is now being implemented by translocating squirrels from robust populations in Maryland to unoccupied, suitable habitats in southern Delaware. Additional translocations of at least 15 squirrels to Delaware are planned for the spring of 2022.
Delaware landowners should not be concerned if they see the Delmarva fox squirrels on their property. Since Delmarva fox squirrels are no longer a federally-listed endangered species, program restrictions on habitat impacts are no longer applicable. However, hunting Delmarva fox squirrels in Delaware is prohibited since they are still a state-listed endangered species, so it is important that hunters note the differences between them and the more commonly seen eastern gray squirrels, for which Delaware has a hunting season. For photographs comparing and contrasting Delmarva fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels to lessen chances of mistaken identity between the two species, visit the dnrec.delaware.gov.
For more information about Delmarva fox squirrels and the ongoing translocation project for restoring the species in Delaware, catch the “On the Move” article and video from Outdoor Delaware magazine at de.gov/outdoordelaware.