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Rehabbed flying squirrels return to the wild near Issaquah

With the help of a local Girl Scout troop and rescue group PAWS, a group of young flying squirrels have a chance to return to the wild.

PRESTON, Wash. — A pack of five sibling flying squirrels are on their way back in to the forest, thanks to help from PAWS Wildlife Center and a couple of local Girl Scouts.

More than a month ago, a local animal shelter discovered five baby flying squirrels at their door, with a note that said “please help them.” 

They were taken to PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, where the squirrels got 40 days of treatment and special care from the staff.

Wildlife naturalist Jeff Brown said the squirrels were so young they needed to be hand fed by syringe for weeks.

Eventually they were moved to an outdoor setting and a local Girls Scout Troop provided the shelter.

The troop was looking for projects and PAWS told them they could use new and redesigned “soft release” boxes for the flying squirrels.

The boxes were designed by Girl Scouts Kaelyn and Malia, who have been with the scouts for eight years. They completely designed and built the boxes so that with creative solutions to keep out intruders, such as raccoons.

The boxes have several levels inside and numerous small entry holes that only the squirrels can access.

Brown and a small group took the boxes to a forest near Issaquah this week to mount them at least 20 feet above the ground. Wildlife cameras are mounted on adjacent trees.

Flying squirrels are nocturnal so they were transferred from the rehab to the forest asleep. That way, they are free to wake up and explore their surroundings at night and find a permanent nest.