The Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel will be removed from the Endangered species list next month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced.
Watch "Racing Extinction" on Discovery Channel, Dec. 2, at 9 PM ET/PT.
The move has been a long time coming. The squirrel was one of 78 species to be listed under the original Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1967, a forerunner of today's Endangered Species Act, which became law in 1973.
At about 15 inches in body length, minus the tail, Delmarva fox squirrels are larger than other squirrel species, and unlike more typical squirrels they're not usually seen in urban and suburban environments. Instead, they live on rural, forested lands and in agricultural fields.
The animals once ranged in healthy numbers on the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) Peninsula. But mid-20th-century forest clearing for timber harvesting, agriculture, development, and hunting decimated the animal almost completely.
Now, though, its numbers are so robust that the squirrel is no longer considered at risk of extinction.