Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans).

How I bought a species - 2008 update

In March 2008, I re-visited the reserve. Unfortunately, the largest oak (the only really big tree there) has been toppled by a storm in 2007. The fall created a large clearing in the middle of the grove, and it was overtaken by tall grass. This caused serious loss of overall habitat quality, and created extreme risk of wildfire. I had to work for two days, using a spell of wet weather to create a firebreak by burning all dry grass around the forest (thanks to the personnel of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust at Ankarafantsika Reserve, Madagascar, for teaching me this technique!)

The rodent numbers were way down: I couldn't trap a single rodent in two nights, and only saw two Reithrodontomys harvest mice. I don't know if Maya mice still survive in the forest. I'm planning another visit in the summer of 2009.

But it wasn't all bad news: there was no sign of logging or cattle grazing inside the forest, the Guatemalan firs were doing well, the rare bearded scops-owls (Megascops barbatus) were still present, and two southern flying squirrels, which are very rare in Guatemala, were clearing a tree hollow, probably to use for breeding.