PHOENIX — An annual survey of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel showed a significant decline due to the effects of the lightning caused Frye Fire in the Pinaleño Mountains of southeastern Arizona.
The annual survey, conducted jointly by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), Coronado National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Center for Nature Conservation – Phoenix Zoo, and the University of Arizona, resulted in an estimate of only 35 squirrels. This is a significant decrease from the 252 squirrels estimated in 2016. Evidence of the Frye Fire was observed in 95% of the surveyed locations, 80% showed at least some habitat loss, and 44% were completely burned.