MT. GRAHAM, Ariz. -- A wildlife manager with the Arizona Game and Fish Department unintentionally shot and killed an endangered Mt. Graham red squirrel, the agency said Thursday.
The wildlife manager, who is working with University of Arizona researchers, reportedly shot the squirrel Wednesday.
Since early 2012, the department has been assisting biologists to reduce competition for the endangered species by moving Abert's squirrels from the drought-affected red squirrel habitat on Mt. Graham.
The state agency said the wildlife manager followed its protocol by immediately reporting the incident to his supervisor, who then contacted the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
"While the accidental taking of any endangered species is, of course, regrettable, our wildlife manager in the field self-reported his actions as early and as ethically as possible," said Jim deVos, the assistant director of wildlife management for the state agency.
The wildlife manager preserved the squirrel's remains, which will be transferred to federal wildlife officials.