In what may seem like a scene from the 1980 hit comedy Caddyshack, the City of Berkeley is planning on “going Bill Murray” on hundreds of squirrels and gophers over environmental concerns.
Having exhausted every option, the city is planning on trapping and terminating hundreds of ground squirrels and western pocket gophers in an effort to prevent toxins from leaking into the bay.
What exactly is the correlation between these fluffy little critters and water contamination?
In 1991, the city converted a landfill along its shoreline. Bay Area residents have enjoyed the resulting 90-acre Cesar Chavez Park ever since. Unfortunately, so have the rodents: the park is covered in shallow holes, causing the Regional Water Quality Control Board to worry about an exposure to toxic remnants from the park’s past life.
“Rain water goes into the holes and takes the landfill waste possibly into the bay,” city spokesman Matthai Chakko said to the Contra Costa Times. “What goes into the bay is going to impact the animals in the bay.”
The famously eco-friendly city has employed a number of tactics to control the rodent population, notably installing raptor homes atop poles throughout the park in an attempt to lure birds of prey to the park.
The city will now subcontract with a firm called Animal Damage Control, who plans to isolate sections of the park one acre at a time, trap the animals and “abate” them.
Read more at the Contra Costa Times.