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Professor hopes squirrel study to help population

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BEREA, OH (WOIO) -

The squirrels are everywhere on the Baldwin Wallace Campus, but 80% of the world's squirrel population is threatened.

So Dr. Karen Munroe, a Biology Professor at the University, along with her students, are trying to do something about the problem.

The first question to answer is why are squirrels thriving here, "Since we have gray and fox squirrels in the same place, the same habitat how do they divvy up that habitat, how do you divvy up that area how are they not competing with each other."

The squirrels are lured into these cages with peanut butter, they are tagged, measured and a small amount of DNA is taken.

They may whimper a bit, but they are not harmed in any way.  The data is used to monitor growth and mating habits.

You may be asking why is this important, well in the delicate balance of nature squirrels play a major role.

"Squirrels are critical to forests, they're the main dispenser of acorns. If you like trees if you like oxygen, these are the main dispensers of oak seedlings," said Dr. Monroe.

Some female squirrels are fitted with radio collars so they can track their movements.

Dr. Munroe who has been studying squirrels for 15 years calls them ecosystem engineers and hopes the information they gather will help sustain the population world-wide.

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