Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stop the killing of the California Ground Squirrels and Gophers at Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley!

Mayor of Berkeley
2180 Milvia Street 5th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
TEL: (510) 981-7100, TDD: (510) 981-7190, FAX: (510) 981-7199

Members of the City Council

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
1515 Clay St
Suite 1400
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 622-2300, Fax: (510) 622-2460

Dear Madam, dear Sir,

It came to my attention that there is a plan to kill the beautiful California Ground Squirrels at Cesar Chavez Park. People love them and they provide habitat for the Burrowing Owls who are almost gone from the park.
Cesar Chavez wasn't sealed  very well. Now the squirrels are blamed for toxins leaking into the bay from their digging and rain.
This is hypocritical because there is very little regulation to stop businesses and households from flushing toxic products into the bay.
The local parks and government agencies are regularly spraying extremely toxic herbicides and other poisons directly into the bay and on land next to the bay, as well as along creeks draining to the bay.
The effect of the squirrels, if any, is negligible by comparison.

The squirrels have been there for decades. The authorities have been complaining for years about the few old, and often disabled people who come to feed the squirrels, saying it's increasing their population.
This is one of the last places in the Bay Area where people feed squirrels.

The California Ground Squirrel, like their cousins the Prairie Dogs, have language. They are amazingly intelligent animals and build interesting villages, complete with sentries to protect everyone. They have separate names they call out for specific predators. And they support many other species, including the Burrowing Owls.
No squirrels, no owls.
The squirrels are under siege everywhere in the Bay Area, as are the many species who rely on them for survival. Note how the reports keep repeating the word "rodent" as if it's a slur. (The gophers are slated for murder also.)

The harassment of the people who feed the squirrels is outrageous also. They are primarily old and poor, and have named and known individual squirrels and their relatives going back generations.
The usually wary squirrels know their humans and will sit on them and be petted. Both the humans and squirrels deserve to be loved and protected.

There is an ongoing destruction of your local parks while agencies and companies are making a fortune.
A nearby squirrel and owl habitat on another bay landfill at the Albany Bulb is being heavily sprayed with poison and the trees are being cut down.
A wildlife photographer friend who has loved that area for the hummingbirds says the hummingbirds are mostly gone now.

WHY is this being done to your parks?  Why is there no vote or input from people allowed? 
This must stop!
Again, if there were real concern over toxins going into the bay, why not stop toxins flushed and washed down household and city drains and water leading to creeks into the bay, which are not regulated at all? 
For instance, stop all the pesticides used by and in the bay, creeks, land. (East Bay Regional Parks and other agencies spray right next to the bay.)

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