Fawnskin Squirrel Official Response

Squirrel in Fawnskin a drop in population is thought to be from West Nile Virus.

Above: Mr Nutkins did not want to share his snack but he let me take a snap to show you that there are still a few squirrels here and there.

So, I got a call from Robin from the Forestry Service yesterday.

Seems she has done a bit of digging after a few more folks called in asking about the missing squirrels.

Normally populations boom and then decline.

Population density makes it easier for disease to sweep through and the availability of food (or lack of) also influences populations.

Also, for the past couple of years the following problem has been documenting in both Running Springs & Lake Arrowhead.

The California Department of Fish and Game said this,

” The gray squirrel die-off in your area is due to West Nile virus (WNV) and is being monitored by the state and county Departments of Health.”

I took the liberty of editing some of the rest of response for easier reading. LOL

I you happen to see a dead squirrel the San Bernardino County’s Department of Health Vector Control division is interested in samples less than 24 hours old to monitor the prevalence of WNV.

Carcasses should not be touched and the number to report a dead bird or squirrel is (877) 968-2473 (877-WNV-BIRD).

Mountain residents can also submit an online report on this page (where you can also get directions on how to handle it.)

Zoonotic diseases such as West Nile Virus can have very high death rate when the host population is at high densities (i.e., lots of squirrels).

Natural cycles generally operate such that as densities decrease, disease prevalence will decrease and the population will recover.

While West Nile Virus is primarily transmitted by mosquito, it is good practice to avoid touching dead rodents or birds.

Dried feces (airborne transmission from powder) are of concern  in Hanta virus transmission but not considered a danger from WNV although it is wise to avoid contact with any droppings or carcasses.

Please seek information on safety and human health risks from the county or state health departments.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 and is filed under Mountain Lake Resort, Mountain Wildlife.

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