Up for a Count?

Ground Squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi)

Shall we count the squirrels in Cesar Chavez Park? They did it recently in New York City’s Central Park. Friends forwarded this charming article from the New York Times showing how they did it and what they came up with. The article is a little vague on the “why” question — it’s in the general area of “because they’re there.”

Here in Cesar Chavez Park, the squirrels were at the center of a political firestorm in early 2014, when the City hired an exterminator to reduce the squirrel population. That was the second attack on the bushy-tailed mammals, following the total failure of a 2009 order by the regional water board to eliminate the squirrel population altogether. The 2014 effort triggered a huge protest. City Council was buried under an avalanche of more than 81,000 emails in defense of the furry creatures, and backed off. As a compromise, new signs went up admonishing park visitors not to feed the wildlife.

Today, the squirrels are not the target of any government or regulatory agency. All is calm on the squirrel front. So, maybe now is a good time for the first-ever squirrel census of Cesar Chavez Park. Interested? Post a comment.

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