The City of Santa Monica begins humane plan to control the ground squirrel population in Palisades Park

LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2006 -- This week the City of Santa Monica begins their humane plan to control California Ground Squirrels in Palisades Park. The plan will incorporate a no-feed education program along with non-hormonal birth control, flea control and health monitoring.

The humane plan will be carried out by nonprofit Animal Advocates. Animal Advocates is licensed by Fish & Game to treat wildlife. They are also humane Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators.  "We look forward to helping the City humanely control the wildlife in the park," stated Mary Cummins, President of Animal Advocates.

Last month the County Health Department forced the City to kill some of the squirrels with poison. Lamont Ewell the City Manager of Santa Monica stated "as a person who loves animals, my goal is to avoid ever having to reduce the population of squirrels in this manner again. We are optimistic that the educational and contraceptive approaches will allow us to maintain the population and meet County requirements. We are also hoping that this approach will serve as an alternative maintenance procedure for other communities to follow."

"Killing native wildlife is not an effective or ethically defensible response to urban wildlife conflicts," said Camilla Fox, Director of Wildlife Programs for the Animal Protection Institute. "It is high time state and municipal governments put the resources into humane, long-lasting solutions. We are confident this comprehensive program will provide a model for other communities across the country," Fox said.

"Santa Monica has the opportunity to become a model for the sustainable, humane management of ground squirrels and other wildlife," said Catherine Rich, Executive Officer of The Urban Wildlands Group.

Squirrels have the natural ability to control their own reproduction. They will only produce offspring if they believe there is sufficient food, water and shelter. If their food supply is limited, they will have fewer babies. Controlling their food supply is the easiest, least expensive, safest and most long lasting way to control their population.

Animal Advocates asks the public not to feed the squirrels or birds in Palisades Park. If the squirrels become overpopulated as they were last year, LA County will again force the City to poison the animals. Death by poison is painful. It also poses a possible threat to non-target wildlife, domestic pets, humans and the environment. Please, help save the animals by not feeding them.

Animal Advocates is looking for more volunteers to help with their humane plan. Please contact or visit the website for more information.

SOURCE: Animal Advocates

Animal Advocates, Los Angeles

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