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Sciurus anomalus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA SCIURIDAE

Scientific Name: Sciurus anomalus
Species Authority: Gmelin, 1778
Common Name(s):
English Caucasian Squirrel, Persian Squirrel

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
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)
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.

Geographic Range [top]

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.
Countries:
Native:
Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Georgia; Greece; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Lebanon; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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).

Conservation Actions [top]

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.

Bibliography [top]

Amr, Z. S. 2000. Mammals of Jordan. Jordan Country Study of Biological Diversity. United Nations Environment Program and Global Environment Fund Project, Amman, Jordan.

Demirsoy, A., Yigit, N., Colak, E., Sozen, M. and Karatas, A. 2006. Rodents of Turkiye. Meteksan, Ankara.

Gavish, L. 1993. Preliminary Observations on the Behavior and Ecology of Free-Living Populations of the Subspecies Sciurus anomalus syriacus, (Golden Squirrel) on Mount Hermon, Israel. Israel Journal of Zoology 39: 275-280.

Harrison, D. L. and Bates, P. J. J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK.

Mitchell-Jones, A. J., Amori, G., Bogdanowicz, W., Kryštufek, B., Reijnders, P. J. H., Spitzenberger, F., Stubbe, M., Thissen, J. B. M., Vohralik, V. and Zima, J. 1999. The Atlas of European Mammals. Academic Press, London, UK.

Qumsiyeh, M. B. 1996. Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 2005. Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Citation: Yigit, N., Kryštufek, B., Sozen, M., Bukhnikashvili, A. & Shenbrot, G. 2008. Sciurus anomalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 September 2014.
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