Overview

Distribution

Range Description

occurs in extreme southeastern Europe and southwest Asia. In the Mediterranean region it occurs in Turkey (introduced to the area around Istanbul in 1964), the islands of Lesbos (Greece) and Gökçeada (Turkey) (Mitchell-Jones et al. 1999), Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan (Wilson and Reeder 2005). Also occurs in Transcaucasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), northern and western Iran, and Iraq (Wilson and Reeder 2005). A significant part of its range is within the Asiatic part of Turkey. Elevation ranges from sea level to 2000 m.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species predominantly lives in mixed and deciduous forest, although it also occurs in coniferous forests (e.g., on the southern coast of Turkey) as well as rocky outcrops (Amr 2000, Demirsoy et al. 2006).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Yigit, N., Kryštufek, B., Sozen, M., Bukhnikashvili, A. & Shenbrot, G.

Reviewer/s
Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
In the core of the species' Mediterranean range (Turkey) S. anomalus is still abundant. In the Levant (margins of the range) declines are recorded, but no figures are available for decline rates there. In other marginal parts of its range it is also noted as declining (and is considered Endangered in Syria). There are threats from deforestation and hunting/poaching, but at the global level the population is not thought to be declining at a rate that would qualify the species as threatened or Near Threatened. Given its abundance in the core part of its range, it is here listed as Least Concern. Nevertheless, it is recommended that this species be monitored, particularly at the edges of its range to determine the rate of range shrinkage and overall population declines in the region.
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Population

Population
The species remains abundant in some parts of its range (e.g. Anatolian Turkey: N. Yigit pers. comm. 2007), although declines have been reported in other parts of its distribution. Anecdotal information suggests 'dangerous declines' in populations in Lebanon and Syria over the last few decades. A decline in Jordan has been noted leading the subspecies S. a. syriacus to be considered endangered there by Amr (2000). During a five month study during 1993 in suitable habitat in Israel only eight squirrels were encountered at two different sites. This number was considered low. Guides in the area thought numbers to be historically the lowest encountered and the authors considered the species to be 'nearly extinct' (Gavish 1993).

The species was considered abundant in Syria in the woods south of mount Hermon in 1866 (Harrison and Bates 1991). In Iraq in 1959, Hatt found the species near Sarsank, where up to twelve individuals occupied a single hollow tree (Harrison and Bates 1991).

Population density has not been quantified, but fluctuations apparently occur.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
In parts of its range, deforestation and hunting/poaching occur. Hunting and destruction of the forest habitat have reportedly caused numbers to decrease in Israel (Gavish 1993). In Turkey, it is not under serious threat at present (N. Yigit pers. comm. 2007).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Included in the EU Habitats Directive (92/43) IV 21/05/92; and the Bern Convention II 01/03/02, in parts of its range where these apply. Occurs in protected areas. Population monitoring is recommended, particularly in parts of the range where declines have been noted.
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Wikipedia

Caucasian squirrel

The Caucasian squirrel (or Persian squirrel) (Sciurus anomalus) is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus found in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece (only on the island of Lesbos), Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. Its natural habitat is temperate broadleaf and mixed forests.[1]

Description[edit]

The species was identified by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1778 and named Sciurus anomalus,[1] although it has also been credited to Johann Anton Güldenstädt.[3] The common English name for the species is the Caucasian squirrel, also known as Persian squirrel.[1]

Samuel Griswold Goodrich described the Caucasian squirrel in 1885 as "Its color is grayish-brown above, and yellowish-brown below".[4] The Caucasian squirrel has a body length of between 20–30 centimetres (7.9–11.8 in) and can weigh between 200–1,000 grams (0.44–2.20 lb).[5]

Habitat[edit]

The species mainly lives in forested areas featuring coniferous and/or deciduous trees in Turkey and throughout the countries in the Middle East and Eurasian regions but the range also stretches as far south east as Iran and Iraq. In the Mediterranean, they are native to Gökçeada and Lesbos.[1] It is one of two species of the genus Sciurus to be found on Mediterranean islands.[3] The Caucasian squirrel lives in areas as high as 2,000 metres (6,600 ft).[1] They live in trees, where they make their dens. Their diet includes nuts, seeds, tree shoots and buds.[5]

A survey in 2008 found that the species remained abundant within Turkey, however declines are noted in population within the Levant region. The guides for a survey in 1993 in Israel stated that they considered the species to be nearly extinct within the area studied. Whilst the Caucasian squirrel is threatened by poaching and deforestation, the declines recorded are not sufficient to qualify them as anything other than "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[1] Hunting of the species is banned by the Central Hunting Commission, and the Caucasian squirrel is protected by the Bern Convention and the EU Habitats Directive.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Yigit, N., Kryštufek, B., Sozen, M., Bukhnikashvili, A. & Shenbrot, G. (2008). Sciurus anomalus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  2. ^ Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffmann, R.S. (2005). "Family Sciuridae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference (3rd ed.). The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 754–818. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4. OCLC 26158608. 
  3. ^ a b Masseti, Marco (2012). Atlas of Terrestrial Mammals of the Ionian and Aegean Islands. Boston: De Gruyter. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-3110254570. 
  4. ^ Goodrich, Samuel Griswald (1885). Johnson's Natural History 1. New York: A.J. Johnson & Co. p. 372. 
  5. ^ a b c "Appendix B1 - Mammal Species Dossier" (PDF). British Petrolleum. October 2002. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
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