We evaluated translocation as a restoration technique for southern fox squirrels (Sciurus niger niger) by capturing squirrels from six donor populations in coastal South Carolina and releasing them into unoccupied habitats on St. Phillips (n = 24) and Hall Islands (n = 28), South Carolina, during Jan. 1999–Jan. 2000. We monitored survival, home range size and habitat use during ≤90-d post release, 91–180-d post release and >365-d post release. Annual survival on St. Phillips Island (71%) was similar to reports for other populations in the Southeast, but survival on Hall Island (34%) was lower than reported for those populations. Home range sizes of males and females on St. Phillips Island and females on Hall Island decreased from ≤90-d to 91–180-d post release, and were similar to those of reported populations by >365-d post release. Home range size for males on Hall Island remained large throughout our study. During ≤90-d post release, males and females on St. Phillips Island established home ranges containing a disproportionate amount of tall grass marsh causing that habitat to rank higher than mature pine habitat. Tidal flats were represented less in home ranges than expected. By 91–180-d post release, squirrels on St. Phillips Island used habitats within their home ranges in proportion to availability. On Hall Island, squirrels used habitats within their home ranges randomly except for males at ≤90-d who used food plots more than mature pines and all habitats ranked above fallow fields and young planted pines. Our data suggested translocation is a useful tool in the management of southern fox squirrels.
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Vol. 162 • No. 2