END OF STUDY Ė FOR NOW
(Novermber 21st, 2004)
Julie King and Alan Muchlinski would like to thank everyone who has
participated in this study. Julie has completed her
masterís thesis and is now working on issues related to the Island Fox on Catalina Island. The results of Julieís research,
for which she received the 1st place award in the biological sciences graduate student category at the California State
University Research Competition in May 2004, is available via her masterís thesis in the Cal State L.A. library. The title of
Julieís thesis is ďThe Current Distribution of the Introduced Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) in the Greater Los Angeles
Metropolitan Area and its Behavioral Interaction with the Native Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus).
The study will be repeated
in 2014 to determine the spread of the fox squirrel population over a 10 year
We hope that you will take part in the renewed study at that time.
Fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) were introduced to the Los Angeles area in about 1904. Civil war and Spanish American war veterans residing at the Sawtelle Veteranís Home on Sepulveda and Wilshire Boulevards brought fox squirrels to this site from their homes in the areas surrounding the Mississippi Valley (possibly Tennessee). Other introductions of fox squirrels to the Los Angeles area may have taken place during more recent times but detailed records are not available.
By 1947 the fox squirrel was considered a pest species by local walnut growers and by the Agricultural Commission. Between 1904 and 1947 the fox squirrel extended its geographic range eastward from Sepulveda and Wilshire Boulevards through the Santa Monica Mountains, northward into and across the San Fernando Valley, and over the Santa Susana Pass into the walnut groves of the Simi Valley. Range expansion continues to take place as fox squirrels are now found as far south as the Palos Verdes peninsula and Long Beach, and as far east as the cities of San Dimas, West Covina, Hacienda Heights, and Brea.
The Western gray or California gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus) is native to the southern California area and occurs primarily in wooded areas near, and in, the local mountain ranges. Western gray squirrels can also be found in some of the less disturbed open areas that remain in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region. With the continuing expansion of the fox squirrel into new geographic regions of southern California, fox squirrels are coming into contact with gray squirrels. Will the introduced fox squirrel displace the western gray squirrel from its native habitat? This is one question that we hope to answer through the Southern California Fox Squirrel Research Project.
You can help us gather data for the Southern California Fox Squirrel Research Project.
We are tracking the range expansion of the fox squirrel by using a Geographic Information System mapping program. If you complete and submit the survey form below, you will be providing valuable information to us on the present locations of gray squirrels and fox squirrels in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. We will use the street addresses that you provide on the survey form as location points for gray and fox squirrels. Although we are particularly interested in location reports from areas near the boundary of the current range for the gray and fox squirrel, all location reports are valuable and all reports will be accepted. Reports on locations of fox squirrels in Orange and Ventura Counties, in addition to Los Angeles County, are also very important to us.
The other information you provide on the survey form below will also assist us in our project. We thank you for your assistance and we hope that you enjoy seeing the gray squirrels and the fox squirrels in southern California.
Dr. Alan Muchlinski
This study is supported in part by a grant from the Los Angeles County Commission of Fish and Game.