Protect California Ground Squirrels From Poisoning


Target: Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Secretary of Harbor View Estates Homeowners Association

Goal: Stop poisoning of California ground squirrels

California ground squirrels play an important role as ‘ecosystem engineers,’ contributing to the diversity of many native plants and wild animals in Southern California. These gregarious animals clear vegetation, disperse seeds, control insects, aerate the soil by digging, channel water into underground aquifers, and create intricate burrow systems. The large complex burrow systems made by California ground squirrels provide much needed habitat for other wildlife, including burrowing owls. The health of ground squirrel populations indicate the well-being of the entire ecosystem that they belong to.

Unfortunately, a homeowner’s association in San Clemente, California is using poison to kill ground squirrels in its neighborhood. The use of poison is very expensive and has harmful environmental effects, such as unintentional secondary poisoning of non-targeted wildlife. Poisoning this important prey species threatens many wild predators, including bobcats, coyotes, weasels, foxes, hawks, and snakes with exposure to lethal chemicals, creating more challenges for conserving native wildlife. Natural predators experience enough stressors from habitat fragmentation, drought, disease, and competition, which lesson their chance of survival.

Domestic pets can also be affected by secondary poisoning if they come into contact with bait stations or the poisoned animals. Poisons are inhumane as they cause slow and painful deaths. Symptoms of poisoning include convulsions, vomiting, internal bleeding, and gradual cardiac collapse. Instead of poisoning wildlife and depriving the community of ecosystem services provided by healthy populations of ground squirrels, neighborhood officials can explore humane extraction, nonlethal habitat modification, and encourage tolerance for natural predators.

Please sign this petition to urge The Harbor View Estates Homeowners Association to remove the poison and to employ humane methods to manage California ground squirrel populations.


Dear Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Secretary of Harbor View Estates Homeowners Association,

Poisoning California ground squirrels in your neighborhood poses a threat to the safety of the environment and the protection of wildlife and companion animals. This expensive, dangerous, and inhumane extermination practice places natural predators and other non-targeted individuals at risk of secondary poisoning. Wild predators including raptorial birds, snakes, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and weasels naturally balance the ecosystem. Baiting this important prey species with toxic chemicals can irreversibly reduce native biodiversity.

California ground squirrels are undervalued as keystone species of California grassland ecosystems. They provide a variety of ecosystem services including insect control, soil aeration, seed dispersal, and create complex burrows that are essential habitat for maintaining the populations of other wild animal species, such as the burrowing owl. The presence of healthy ground squirrel populations indicate a healthy ecosystem.

I urge you to remove all poison and to utilize humane methods to manage unwanted animals on your properties. Habitat modification is effective in preventing conflict with wildlife when properly employed. Removing brush, wood piles, debris, and encouraging the tolerance of natural predators make areas less desirable for ground squirrels. Wildlife extraction services are environmentally friendly and will not harm non-targeted animals. Please protect the beauty and health of your environment by exploring humane alternatives to poisons.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: mhocter via Flickr

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  1. Article does not say what pesticide. Roundup? other?
    are these harmful to squirrels, and other small animals?

  2. Squirrels are best served with small onions and baby carrots. But if I can’t keep them out of my yard, I will do what I would do to any mammal trespassing.. Shot to kill.

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