Recent decline of lowland populations of the western gray squirrel in the Los Angeles area of southern California
Cooper, Daniel S.
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We provide an overview of the distribution of lowland and otherwise isolated populations of the western gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus) in the Los Angeles area of southern California, an area that has experienced a recent and ongoing invasion by the non-native eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), an urban-adapted species introduced a century ago. Away from its strongholds in the western Santa Monica Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, and Santa Ana Mountains, the western gray squirrel is resident locally in both the Santa Susana and the Verdugo Mountains, in Griffith Park, in low hills at the eastern periphery of the San Gabriel Valley and in Claremont, and along the Santa Ana River canyon near Yorba Linda. It also persists east of the Los Angeles area in residential areas of Redlands and Yucaipa, which as of 2014 are still outside the range of the eastern fox squirrel. Here we document several gray squirrel extirpation events within its lowland range, and discuss factors influencing its persistence and its extirpation.