University | 3:55 pm | September 11, 2013 | By Julia Zorthian

University denies squirrel extermination rumors

One squirrel, seen above, was spotted on Old Campus on Wednesday morning following rumors that the University led a mass squirrel extermination movement over the summer.
One squirrel, seen above, was spotted on Old Campus on Wednesday morning following rumors that the University led a mass squirrel extermination movement over the summer. Photo by Julia Zorthian.

After on-campus confusion spiraled into national accusations of a mass squirrel extermination, the University has responded to questions about the perceived missing rodents on campus and denied any knowledge or involvement with squirrel-related affairs.

University spokesman Tom Conroy told the News in a statement that Yale has not engaged at all with the local gray squirrel species, bringing to an end to the questions about why Yale did not immediately deny squirrel involvement.

“Yale has no squirrel extermination program and has not made any effort to reduce or manage the squirrel population,” Conroy said.

Circulating rumors led students to speculate that the squirrel disappearance followed a Durfee’s infestation over the summer, but Conroy said that if a squirrel had entered the snack establishment, the University would have used a Havaheart trap to “try to catch it without injury.”

The questioning ensued when a number of media sites published stories this week about whether Yale had surreptitiously massacred the squirrels over the summer, following a Monday Gawker story featuring an anonymous email from a Yale College senior.

“It appears that the administration paid to have all the squirrels on campus killed over the summer. There are no squirrels left at Yale,” the student wrote. “As students have begun to realize the genocide that has taken place, they are rising up, enraged and disgusted.”

But at approximately 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, a squirrel was spotted on Old Campus near the entrance to Durfee Entryway C. The squirrel, though alone, appeared to be alive.

Conroy added that he does not have further knowledge about whether the local population of gray squirrels is currently high, average or low.

Read Conroy’s full statement below:

Yale has no squirrel extermination program and has not made any effort to reduce or manage the squirrel population. If there were a complaint of a squirrel having gotten indoors somewhere on campus, a Havaheart trap would be used to try to catch it without injury. You may wish to find a wildlife expert, perhaps in FES, to determine if there has been any downward fluctuation in the local population recently due to weather or the availability of food. I wouldn’t know if the local population of gray squirrels is currently up, down, or average.
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