The Idaho Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus brunneus) is a species of the largest genus of ground squirrels. There are two subspecies, both in Idaho:
Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel (S. brunneus brunneus)
The Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel subspecies, hereafter referred to as NIDGS is found in Valley
counties, in about two dozen isolated demes
(population groups) thought to occur only at an elevations between 1150-1550 meters (3775-5075 feet). Recently, demes of NIDGS were discovered at elevations up to 2290 meters (7500 feet) . The most recent numbers from the Fish and Wildlife Service
suggest that 500 or less of these squirrels are in existence, however the recent discovery of squirrels at higher elevations may mean that there are indeed many more squirrels than we know of. Many areas of suitable squirrel habitat remain to be surveyed by Payette National Forest and Idaho Department of Fish and Game
employees. The squirrel is currently protected by an agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and private landowners, who, in exchange for federal funding, have agreed to allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct conservation efforts on their land. Timber thinning and prescribed fire projects on the Payette National Forest
have proven to expand some of the existing populations of Northern Idaho Ground Squirrels.
Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel (S. brunneus endemicus)
The Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel, also known as the "whistlepig," can be found in an area about 30 by 70 kilometers (48 by 113 miles) extending from Emmett, Idaho
, northwest to Weiser, Idaho
and the surrounding area of Squaw Butte, Midvale Hill, and Henley Basin in Gem
, and Washington
Its range is bounded on the south by the Payette River, on the west by the Snake River and on the northeast by lava flows. Their habitat is typified by rolling hills, basins, and flats at an altitude of between 670-975 meters (2,200-3,200 feet).
As of 2004, the Southern subspecies is a candidate endangered species.
- Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is endangered and the criteria used