In an unexpected turn of events, a team assigned to remove a dying tree at a university stumbled upon a surprising find: a colony of flying squirrels. The discovery, captured on video by one of the crew members, was brought to the attention of Larkin Powell, a professor of conservation biology. He expressed astonishment because the only known group of these nocturnal animals in Nebraska was believed to be much farther away. The flying squirrels had been living secretly among the treetops above the university’s School of Natural Resources. Professor Powell explained that these elusive creatures are hard to see because they are small and active at night.

Flying squirrels are notable for their gliding ability instead of true flight, as highlighted by the National Wildlife Federation. While the southern flying squirrel is common in the eastern United States, the northern variety is found in the Northeast, West Coast, and parts of the Northwest. Shaun Dunn, a zoologist, has documented multiple sightings of the Lincoln flying squirrels since 2018. Don Althoff, a wildlife conservation professor with nearly 30 years of experience, has studied southern flying squirrels, noting their graceful gliding but awkward movements on the ground. This discovery has sparked excitement and curiosity among university faculty and students, prompting further exploration into the presence and behavior of flying squirrels in the region. It also underscores the importance of conservation efforts and ongoing monitoring of wildlife populations.