The Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel was one of the first animals to be part of the 78 endangered species of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1967, but has bounced back and successfully made it off the list after more than 40 years, Slash Gear reports.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has been relocating the squirrels for several years and - together with partner agencies and citizen-conservationists - finally succeeded in bringing the fox squirrel's population to almost 135,000 from the 32,000 in existence in 1990, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
"We could not have reached this point without the many citizen-conservationists who changed the way they managed their forest lands to make this victory possible, and I am deeply appreciative of their efforts," said Sen. Ben Cardin on Friday in a statement.
Now that the squirrel's numbers are safe, individual states where the species can be found - Virginia, Delaware and Maryland - will resume responsibility over the animal. If a state wishes to allow hunting for this species during regular hunting seasons, then they will have the right to do as soon as the name of the species is officially taken off the ESA list before the end of 2015, but none of the states are expressing any plans to do that and will maintain the "endangered" treatment for the species, The Washington Post reports.