Pallas’s squirrel in Taiwan’s Dongyanshan Forest

Dongyanshan Forest Recreation Areas often attracts tourists to hike and walk in the Spring. Inside the park, you can often see Pallas’s squirrels. The Forest District Office asks visitors not to feed them, in order not to affect their health, and lower the risk of predation. It is recommended to observe from a distance and watch their beautify moves while jumping over the trees.

The Hsinchu Forest District Office says, Pallas’s squirrels mainly carry out activities in the morning or when its dark. They live at low altitudes of original broad-leaved forest, are also one of the commonly seen mammals in Dongyanshan Forest Recreation Areas. The Pallas’s squirrels are about 20 centimeters with dark brown hairs, red hair only appears in the stomach area. That is how they get their names. Because the tail hair of Pallas’s squirrel is very fluffy, it is also called “expanded squirrel” in Taiwanese. They eat the flowers and fruits of the plants, buds, leaves and small insects.

The Hsinchu Forest District Office explains, because the habitats of Pallas’s squirrels are close to that of human beings. It has been recently discovered that there are tourists, who feed the squirrels with fruits, cookies, potato chips and other processed food, which will lead to high cholesterol, unbalanced nutrition and other issues due to eating single food or high oil and salt for a long time. It may also cause lower movement and affect their health due to the easy access to food.

Feeding behavior has lowered their guard over human and their natural enemies. Hsinchu Forest Management Office said because Pallas’s squirrel might run to lower tree branches or ground to get feed. This increases the risk of being seen by their predators, such as dog and cat. Therefore, the office suggests, while resting in the recreation areas, if you see Pallas’s squirrel, please keep some distance. Avoid feeding or yelling; you can observe these cute tree fairies jumping over the tree quietly.

Also, Dongyuanshan Forest Recreation Area is now in the blossom season of rhododendron leptosanthum. There is plenty of plants, and the weather is comfortable. It is a perfect place for traveling. The “Small Eco Trip to Dongyuanshan Forest Recreation Area”, organized visit to old tea factory with a long history, and also experience activity in farm doing natural cultivation. The content is rich and lively. Relevant information about the Eco-trip will be updated regularly on the Taiwan Forest Recreation Website (http://recreation.forest.gov.tw). Interested residents are encouraged to keep an eye on it. If you want more up-to-date information on the trip, please refer to the registration website http://www.shinertour.com/?p=2444.

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