News Briefs
Squirrels To Receive Birth Control Shot
By Kendra J. Richardson
Mar 11, 2007 - 4:23:00 PM

SANTA MONICA—In what appears to be a last ditch effort by officials, Santa Monica squirrel reproduction is being controlled by a measure that some feel is highly questionable.

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According to the Associated Press, officials have tried numerous measures to control, if not, dwindle down the influx of squirrels in the city park area; measures such as poison, gassing and even euthanasia. However, none of those have quite encompassed the dissatisfaction with the squirrels’ overall presence as the present recommendation by officials to use birth control.

Officials say that their plans are to inject squirrels in the Palisades Park area with an immuno-contraceptive vaccine that will then limit the sexual developments that the squirrels usually undergo. Animal activists are outraged by the notion and feel that there are certainly other ways. The vaccine would stop ovulation in female squirrels and would rid males of testicles. Officials point out that no side effects would be present that could potentially harm the squirrels once vaccinated.

The cost of the overpopulation is beginning to awaken many Santa Monica officials. When squirrels overpopulate an area, that area receives citations, which are very costly. The Santa Monica area has been cited five times by city officials.

Many people have suggested that ridding the area of the squirrels entirely is always an option worth examining, but officials don’t want to kill the animals if other options are present. The amount of squirrels is overwhelming, but the reason for the surge in protection against the rodents are the health risks that health officials say that they present. Aside from rabies, the fleas on squirrels could carry the potentially fatal disease; the bubonic plague.



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