2023 Wildlife Newsletter-for Web

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/1489633

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2023 Newsletter from the Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund You can make the difference Remember our wildlife and the wild places that we want future generations to enjoy. Make sure to "check" for wildlife on your state tax return. Look for the peregrine falcon symbol and donate all or a portion of your tax refund to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. You can also donate throughout the year by calling (402) 471-0641 or online at NebraskaWildlifeFund .com All donations are fully tax deductible. and WILD PLACES SAVING WILDLIFE N ebraska's smallest squirrel has been receiving a lot of attention lately. The southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) is a charismatic mammal but is rarely seen due to its small size and nocturnal routine. Common throughout most of the southeastern United States the southern flying squirrel is rare in Nebraska because we are on the western edge of the species' range. So it was surprising when a new population was found in Lincoln, over 60 miles away (as the squirrel flies) from the nearest known population. Ok, flying squirrels don't actually fly, but they can easily glide over 100 feet using their patagium – a furry membrane of skin stretching from the squirrel's forefoot to their hindfoot along their sides. Even their scientific name mistakes their soaring behavior as flight, volans means flying (though the genus is apt, Glaucomys means grey mouse). Biologists at Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have partnered with several organizations to find out more about this new population and to help conserve our existing populations. Indian Cave State Park (ICSP) has been home to a population of southern flying squirrels for decades. In the late 1990s to early 2000s, a series of flying squirrel nest boxes were installed in the park. These boxes lasted decades but were in need of replacement. Luckily, a group of eager high school students wanting to learn more about Nebraska's flying squirrels, as part of Nebraska Wildlife Rehab's education program in cooperation with Southeast Community College's Career Academy, was able to help. A meeting was held with the students in late spring along with researchers from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) to learn the biology and ecology of the flying squirrel along with sampling techniques. Then in the summer, they met again to build over 20 new nest boxes, which the students installed at ICSP this fall. The students also learned about how flying squirrels make ultrasonic chirps and calls that can be recorded using special detectors typically used to records bat calls. These recordings give us an idea of how widespread this new population is and where they might be nesting. A graduate student at UNO is gathering genetic samples to see if they can determine where the Lincoln population came from. Did they expand from the ICSP population? Did they hitch a ride on logs from Missouri or Kansas? Or could they be escaped pets (illegal to have in Nebraska, but it happens)? Support from the Wildlife Conservation Fund has allowed us to pay for supplies, research equipment, and to run genetic tests soon to aid in the conservation of this species. DOUG CARROLL, NEBRASKALAND Southern Flying Squirrel Research By Shaun Dunn, Zoologist, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

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