After being on the endangered species list for the last 48 years, the Delmarva Fox Squirrel has bounced back from extinction.

Also called eastern fox squirrels, the large critters which mainly occupy the heavily wooded areas of the Delmarva peninsula in Maryland and Virginia, were at risk due to excessive hunting and logging.

The squirrels are now so abundant that they have expanded their range across the borders of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and increased their population to an estimated 20,000.

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Fox squirrels are a larger subspecies of the more common tree-climbers, and can be recognized by their gray, hulking exterior.

Officials in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say that if it hadn’t been for the protections given the fox squirrels under the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967, the steely forest dwellers would have died off, never to be seen again.

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