Saturday, December 1, 2012

Olney White Squirrel Population Dips

The town of Olney, Illinois has for decades been noted for its large population of white squirrels. There are competing stories of the origin of the squirrels, but the community has adopted them as a source of pride and a local tourist attraction. The city has set up squirrel crossing signs and has even  passed laws to protect the rodents by prohibiting cat owners from allowing their pets to roam free, and forbidding anyone from taking a white squirrel out of the city.


Unfortunately, over the years the white squirrel population has dropped steadily from a high of over 800 in 1941. And it seems that this decline may now be accelerating. Every year a local college conducts a white squirrel count, and this year's count, in October, found only 80 white squirrels in the town, a drop of about 25 percent from the previous year. While it is not clear that any single cause is entirely to blame, a city official has suggested that the extreme hot and dry weather of the past year could be a major factor.

Residents of the city are being encouraged to put out food and water for the squirrels, plant fruit and nut trees, put up squirrel houses, and to avoid cutting down existing trees during the season when baby squirrels are in their nests. Residents are also asked to obey squirrel crossing zones and laws prohibiting free-roaming cats and dogs.

Please help us!

Olney is one of a few places in North America that has a population of white squirrels. The News For Squirrels hopes that the residents of the town will do whatever it takes to protect this treasure.

(Just a note: both of the articles linked in this post mistakenly identify these squirrels as albino. These white squirrels are not true albinos, as you can see from the dark eyes in the photo above)

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever been to Olney and seen their squirrels?! Did you take this picture? You are soo wrong! Olney's White Squirrels are genuine albinos. Go take a vacation and see one of these natural beauties (with their truly pink eyes) for yourself!

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