IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 85% OF SQUIRRELS WORLD-WIDE ARE IN PERIL
".........I AM LIFE WHICH WANTS TO LIVE, SURROUNDED BY LIFE WHICH WANTS TO LIVE"
Albert Schweitzer was a clergyman,medical missionary, musicologist and missionary surgeon at Lamberene hospital (Equatorial Africa) which he founded. He lived in 20 century and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.
Ethics for Twentieth Century Man
"What we call "ethics" and "morality"-which are terms borrowed from the Greek and the Latin respectively- may be broadly defined as our good behavior toward ourselves and other beings.We feel the obligation to concern ourselves not solely with our own well-being, but also with that of others and of humane society. It is in the notion of the scope of this solidarity with others that the first evolution to be observed in the development of ethics occurs."
"In its beginnings ethics had to appeal to a conception of the world which would satisfy it.Having arrived at the knowledge that its fundamental principle is devotion, it becomes fully conscious of itself and thereby becomes autonomous........There is a final consequence to be drawn from the principle of devotion:it no longer allows us to concern ourselves solely with human beings, but obliges us to act in the same way toward all living beings whose fate may be influenced by us.They too are our fellow creatures by the fact they experience as we do an aspiration to happiness, as well as fear and suffering, and like us dread annihilation."
"The immediate datum of our consciousness, to which we come back each time we desire to achieve an understanding of ourselves and of our situation in the world, is: I am life which wants to live , surrounded by life which wants to live. Being will-to-life, I feel the obligation to respect all will-to-life about me as equal to my own. The fundamental idea of good is thus that it consists in preserving life, in favoring it, in wanting to bring it to its highest value, and evil consists in destroying life, doing it injury, hindering its development. The principle of this veneration of life corresponds to that of love, as it has been discovered by religion and philosophy which sought to understand the fundamental notion of good.
The term "respect for life" is broader and because of this more colorless than that of love.But it bears the same energies within it."
"How much better off we should be if men would reflect on the kindness which they owe to creatures and would abstain from all the harm they do them through heedlessness. The fight against the inhuman traditions and the inhuman feelings which are still current in our day is one which our civilization must wage, if we have any concern for our self-respect."
"Thus is the requirement of compassion toward all living beings which makes ethics as complete as it must be."
ISSUES THAT THE SQUIRRELS ARE FACING
Non Humans - related issues
Like any other species, the squirrels are subjected to a number of factors that contribute to their mortality, such as desises, viruses, parasites and predators. The natural elements are also depleting the number of squirrels, so are the environmental factors. Most vulnerable are the babies under 2 years old ; accounts show that only a procent of 20% make it past this age. The babies are born very early in spring (early March) or during mid summer. The spring litters , born with no fur, are often killed during heavy rains or cold weather, or develop infections that kill them within months. In this time, the mother, herself exosted and starved after the long winter, have to spend most of the time keeping them warm with her body, barely taking few minutes to find food for herself in order to provide milk ( imagine that in a city park full of dogs). For the summer litter, also by the time the Winter settles in the babies are grown enough, they still have to face their first Winter when are only few months old. Also the mother is carefull in providing first lessons before the babies are going outside, they still make for an easy pray for predators.
It is hard to believe that the most intelligent species on the Earth , the Humans, is the most destructive factor for squirrels (and for other species).
The squirrels were being hated with passion in some parts of the world, particularly in North America, since the first non-indigenous settled here. It was not a known method of destruction or cruelty, or human barbarism that was not used against squirrels. It is hard to determine a specific reason, also some explanation is given in the fact that the squirrels, being slowly deprived of their natural habitate, began surviving on crops planted by settlers. They were as well a source of food for the new "masters " of the continent. The hate persists today, so does the mass killings of squirrels and the various forms of cruelties against them. The so-called sport -hunting reaches large proportions ( in 1998, in only one State, New York, 500 000 squirrels were hunted during one single season). How many squirrels are left in forests ? How many will be left in the future , if this continues? It is estimated that their overall population is badly depleted and, also the squirrels have a high capacity to rebound, it seems that the Humans are determinate to use all their might to exterminate one of the most important species - that that gave them the air to breath.
While this is what is happening in wilderness, it is not less the damage inflicted in squirrels in areas where they share their habitate with humans. There are cities that prohibit by law the feeding of squirrels, while creating for them unlivable environment, such as cutting the trees that provide food for squirrels. In many cities, the cruelties against squirrels are not illegal ( such as closing the entrance on the roof for squirrels that made a nest there, so the animals cannot go outside and die a slow, painfull death of thirst on the top of residents' houses) and often are mutually encouraged . The explanation ? The squirrels are "regarded as pests", they are "rats " and "rodents". Of course, this attitude has a large dose of ignorance in it. The killing of squirrels with dogs is a cheap, common entertainment, available to all. After all, this is the "dog's exercise" and the squirrels are the "dog's toys". The negativity and sheer hate against squirrels is so severe and so allowed, that the humans that love and appreciate squirrels are themselves subjected to attacks with dogs or physicall assaults. To "love squirrels" is so unacceptable. Regarded as "pests', they receive the treatment of "pests", the most humane forms being poisoning or drowning (if the owner of the property where is a tree with squirrels do not want to pay the fee for a removal company to relocate them). For many of these Removal Companies, the squirrels are "pests" too.
Meanwhile, the squirrels are a good source of profit for cities : they are advertised as "lovely" wildlife in order to attract tourists.
The Prairie Dogs are ground squirrels that inhabitate the North American prairie. They are known to dig large tunels under ground , where they build towns. Like all the squirrels, the Prairie Dogs are highly intelligent and sophisticated animals, with an wonderful nature. The expression of humane hate toward them takes other forms, different than for the rest of squirrels. There are government-sponsored mass killings of Prairie Dogs , together with any possible cruelty available. The explanation? The Prairie Dogs eat the crop planted by farmers and the farmers' livestock injure their legs in the holes made by Prairie Dogs.
There is nothing new with the fact that in every part on the Planet where wild animals share the habitate with Humans, there are problems and conflicts. However, as the most intelligent species, we are responsible of finding peacefull solutions. First, we have to learn to share the Planet, if we want to preserve it.
With regard to Prairie Dogs, some suggested solutions could be to plant crop that is not edible for the ground squirrels, while making sure that they have other sources to survive. Another suggested solution would be to transform the whole area in an Wildlife Sanctuary and to generate revenues by promoting tourism.
In very brief, here are some of the issues that squirrels face . While is not much we can do to impede the nature , there is a lot we can and should do about Humans-related damage. We believe that there are solutions to co-exist peacefull with other species, for the benefit of both, the humans and the wild animals and these is our duty to find and promote these solutions.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
We look forward for the input of our Members in finding these solutions . Please submit your idea to our Contact address ; while we value each input, the most beneficial and efficient idea will be chosen and promoted.
Also : be an activist for Tree squirrels and for Prairie Dogs.
CHRISTIANITY, ENVIRONMENT AND ANIMALS
There is much controversy over the fact that the Christians abuse and misuse the environment and animals based on their perceived right to do so given to them by the Christian Religion, as 'they are God's best creation and the nature and animals were created by God for their enjoyment'.
It is true: the Christians abuse the animals and environment, based on a wrong interpretation of this concept.
I am a naturalist/environmentalist and I was raised as Christian, in a religious Christian family.
In my opinion, CHRISTIAN RELIGION PROVIDES THE MOST VALUABLE GUIDE IN PROTECTING THE ANIMALS AND ENVIRONMENT.
I will present the following aspects:
-the Christian Religion provides one of the most revered religious figures: St. Francis of Assisi, the Saint-patron of ecology and animals.
In few sentences, St. Francis sets a code of ethics and morality that should direct the actions of any Christian toward animals. Some of such sentences:
'If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men'.
'Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you received- only what you have given.'
For St.Francis 'a sparrow and the Pope were of equal importance: they were God's creatures, his brothers'.
-the Christian Religion gives its followers the Fasting.
I grew-up fasting, and the mandatory requirement was that three days every week -Monday, Wensday and Friday- to not consume any animal product. Then we had many other religious holydays in between, such as the Saints days ( St. Mary, St. Peter, St. John etc) when we were fasting, so were few days left to consume animal products. My grandmother knew to prepare delicious vegan meals from all-natural products, than when the non-fasting days will come, we would not like the animal products' test.
Then we had the black-fasting (was optional) , usually Friday, every week or as often one would want to, once a month or so. During the black-fasting day, we would not eat anything, just drink water. And after this day, you understand the Hunger, you understand how lucky you are for having your 'daily bread', how precious the food is (not waste it) and when you see Hunger-in animals or humans- you start to GIVE. And then you start to Give more, you are happy Giving and then you start to Love. and like that you begin the work of 'bringing God's Kingdom on the Earth , as it is in Heaven'.
Directly, fasting reduces substantially the consumption of animals , while providing us with a healthy way of living.
-the Christian Religion promotes the concept of physical abstinence and resents the wasting and the greed
-the Christian Religion states that 'the Man is God's best creation and the nature and animals were left on the earth for our enjoyment'.
For sure. The enjoyment being spiritual, intellectual and emotional, not physical, as the Christian Religion promotes physical abstinence.
For example: if you go out from your home, and there are no trees with green leafs, there are no birds on the sky, there is no grass and no flowers, you feel miserable, you have no joy.
Christian Religion does not mean that the birds were there so we can make good food with them and gorge -only if you are the kind of individual that has as only enjoyment the physical pleasure; then you cannot be Christian, as you do not have the spiritual and intellectual capabilities.
'Our enjoyment ' is as well the various important functions that every being performs on the earth to keep it alive and with it to keep us alive and happy. (Like the Squirrels by planting the trees).
-the Christian Religion promotes and elevates virtues such Love, Compassion and Peace with their building, constructive power versus the destructive aspects of darkness, such as hate, ignorance, agressivity, violence.
-the Christian Religion gives us the right to use the nature and animals only for our own survival and development, if needed and if we have no other option,and does not give us the right to abuse them, destroy them , mistreat them or use them for selfishness or greed.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND SQUIRRELS
In this topic we want to gather observations about the way Climate Change affects Squirrels. Please contribute your own observations. Are very important the other areas in the World.
1. THE BREADING PATTERN IS DISTURBED
I noticed that the Squirrels in Queen's Park- Toronto had a stable breading pattern for the previous years, in that that the mating time was taking place around 20 January, the babies were born late February and early March and were outside the nest after the first week of May. This year I noticed changes , such as at the end of April many babies were at very young stage, such as being new-born (I found a couple of the in 24 April at the bottom of a tree) or being only several weeks old ( I saw a Mother- Squirrel carrying one in her mouth ).