Big Bear residents are being asked to help researchers learn more about the effects of mange in Big Bear’s population of western gray squirrels (link to press release). Mange is a contagious skin disease caused by parasitic mites that burrow into the skin of affected animals, causing intense itching, infection, hair loss and even death.
Big Bear area residents can report sightings of healthy and sick squirrels and take a survey about their previous squirrel sightings on the website. This information provided by the public will help construct a picture of what happened to the squirrel population in the San Bernardino Mountains, determine whether or not mange is continuing to be a problem, and help track current population trends. In addition, this information will also help researchers determine whether conservation measures can be taken to prevent further losses of squirrels.