[Tweeters] Please do not release trapped Eastern Gray squirrels

ravenintherain ccorax at blarg.net
Thu Dec 6 17:15:47 PST 2007

jbroadus at seanet.com wrote:


> from the WDFW website *:Washington State Recovery Plan for the Western

> Gray Squirrel:*


> Major threats to the western gray squirrel in Washington include

> habitat loss and degradation, road-kill mortality, and disease.

> Populations of eastern gray squirrels, fox squirrels, California

> ground squirrels and wild turkeys are expanding and may compete with,

> and negatively impact western gray squirrel populations. Competition

> with eastern gray squirrels may be an important current issue for the

> Puget Trough population and in southwestern Klickitat County



I reviewed the Recovery Plan. Thanks for referring us to it. Since the
preferred Western Gray Squirrel (WGS) habitat is pine/oak forests, it
doesn't seem that release in the fir/hemlock environment of Seattle in
an area already occupied by Eastern Gray Squirrels is much of a
problem. What is the practical alternative to release in a hospitable
environment? Drowning? (I hear of people doing that, but it's not for
me). Eating? (My dad used to say that he grew up on squirrel in
Wisconsin.) ?????

It appears that any trapping of "wild animals" is a violation of
Washington State Law. Release is even worse. Unfortunately (or
fortunately), "wild animal" doesn't seem to be very well defined and the
law addresses the trapping or killing of animals "in the wild." Are
non-domesticated animals that live in a city "wild animals" in the same
way that wild animals in the wilderness or countryside are? Does anyone
know what the legal basis for commercial "pest" removal services is?
What do they do with the squirrels, raccoons, etc. that they remove?

The bird feeding/squirrel feeding nexus is difficult. I have expanded
my bird feeding greatly this fall and as a result now have three regular
squirrel residents rather than the one I had for the previous couple of
years. I love the squirrels. They are great fun and provide more photo
ops than a political candidate; but they are, after all, big greedy
rodents who like to eat almost everything that birds like. I have very
limited space for feeding and hang most feeders in two large trees that
are right next to the upper deck of my house. Figuring out how to hang
them out of reach of the squirrels is constant challenge. In the middle
of writing this message I had to go out and chase a squirrel off a new
large suet and seed block in a cage and move the cage elsewhere.
Whether the new location is squirrel-proof remains to be seen. I have
set up a squirrel and jay feeding station with peanuts and corn cobs,
but as soon as those are finished, the squirrels are after what is for
the birds (in the best sense).

And finally, I am glad to hear that wild turkey populations are
expanding even if they are competing with WGS. This highlights the fact
that the problem is not one of competition of between squirrels and
turkeys but of both turkeys and squirrels being deprived of habitat by
human greed and expansion. Only when we totally focus on that reality
is there any long-range chance for wildlife.

Sorry, I didn't start out to be so long-winded,


Dale Chase
(AKA ravenintherain)
Seattle, Washington
ccorax at blarg.net

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