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ANDREA FRIEDMAN, Dana Point
I am a resident of Dana Point and I understand the writer’s complaint, but only to a degree. I have friends that get irritated as well when fruit from their backyard fruit trees is eaten. The problem is that birds eat the fruit also, so should we just go kill all the wildlife in our backyards? Killing is never the answer but actually causes the population to increase, endangers other animals and pollutes the environment.
The problem with poison, other than the fact it is inhumane and extremely cruel, is it almost always inadvertently kills other animals: neighbor’s cats or dogs that eat the dead squirrel, hawks, and even endangered animals, such as the burrowing owl. Poisons work their way up the food chain, and can make their way into the environment. Poisoning squirrels causes those females that survive to then reproduce even more offspring, as a result of a decimation of their colony, per animal experts and biologists as learned by the city of Berkeley.
In 2014 when I lived near Berkeley, I read about the city’s concern over potential pollution into the Bay from perceived squirrel overpopulation at its large, 1,000-acre Cesar Chavez Park (a former landfill) located next to the Bay. To prevent possible pollution, the city announced a proposal to poison the entire squirrel population in the park. Upon hearing this news, I met with other concerned citizens, groups, as well as the chief biologist for the Northern California Regional Park system, and other wildlife experts. What we learned from these experts was surprising and led the city of Berkeley to stop the proposed killing and enact an ordinance prohibiting feeding wildlife at the park, and educating the public. Why? The experts explained that when squirrels have their population reduced, they have an innate response to increase the number of babies born in litters, actually resulting in a tremendous increase in population. Thus, killing increases the population as well as endangers other animals and the environment. The consensus/solution was to post “do not feed wildlife” signs at the park and to educate the public.
I strongly suggest that Ms. Beauchamp contact the parks department for Pines Park and the city, and suggest posting “do not feed the wildlife” signs, the solution that worked for Berkeley. Also, she can discourage squirrels from coming to her yard by removing bird feeders and water. Poisoning is not the answer: we need to live in peace with wildlife.