Rare SoCal Flying Squirrel…Next Endangered Species?

Photo by Darleen Ortlieb Frenchen
A rare SoCal flying squirrel…Photo by Darleen Ortlieb Frenchen

Like something out of a Red Bull commercial, this tiny flying squirrel can guide through the air between trees at distances up to 300 feet, using wing-like flaps that extend between their wrists and ankles. Extreme flying, dude!

But the San Bernardino flying squirrel prefers the forests in the San Bernardino mountains which is becoming more of a problem for this truffle-eating critter.

That habitat – which has seen destruction and urbanization – is at a delicate tipping balance for squirrel that is also fighting off the effects of climate change along with domesticated cats.

The Center for Biological Diversity just filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for tailing to protect this rare rodent. In recent decades, it has disappeared from one of two mountain ranges it lives in near Los Angeles. They had been found in the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains, but over a five-year survey, none of the airborn critters were found in the San Jacinto.

The CBD petitioned to have the flying squirrel protected under the Endangered Species Act way back in 2010. In 2012, the Service determined that the squirrel “may warrant” federal protection.