Cartoon squirrels have become an important part of our culture, with their signature blue eyes, yellow stripes, and black fur.
In Canada, there are about 10,000 of them, and there are more than a dozen in Alberta, said Jeff LeBlanc, a senior scientist at the Alberta Parks and Wildlife Service.
(CBC)”They are just a wonderful, quirky, and often misunderstood part of the animal kingdom,” said LeBlanch.
“We’ve been seeing them around for hundreds of years, but we don’t have any census information, so it’s a little bit of a mystery.”
LeBlanche said the squirrels are native to the northern part of Canada, but have become popular in the south.
“They have been in Alberta for hundreds and hundreds of decades,” he said.
“I think it’s because we’ve had such a large population in Alberta.”
The squirrels can be found in Alberta’s Great Bear Rainforest, in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and in the Yukon, said Leblanc.
The forest contains about 70 species of squirrels.
“The northern part has the best distribution of them in Canada, and the southern part has less, but they are still very abundant there,” he explained.
The squirrel population in Canada is declining due to habitat loss and the spread of diseases like the black widow, LeBlache said.
The black widow is a parasitic nematode found in squirrels that can cause death within weeks of infection.
LeBlanca said he hopes the population in Saskatchewan will recover to its pre-war levels within a few years.
“It’s just a shame we don