A Central Park squirrel, via Wiki Commons
“You will see [the park] through the eyes of the squirrel and you will learn the personalities of the Central Park squirrels,” said Jamie Allen, creator of the Squirrel Census, to amNY. The multimedia science, design, and storytelling project has set its sites on Central Park and is recruiting volunteers to count just how many of the furry rodents, specifically the Eastern gray squirrel, call the park home. Why, you may ask? Because “determining the squirrel density of a park is a way to understand the health of that green space.”
As the U.S. goes collectively nuts over the possibility of alleged Russian hacking and its effects on the election, the Washington Post tells of at least one cybersecurity expert devoted to exposing the very real threat of cyberattack by “an insidious bushy-tailed foe.” We’re reminded that in 1987, a squirrel nibbled Nasdaq’s computer center (literally) into the black for 90 minutes, upending 20 million trades.
More de-tails this way
Squirrels may be so common in today’s city parks that they threaten to make off with our junk food, but at one time the creatures were rare and exotic visitors whose delightful presence was carefully encouraged. Dan Lewis of Now I Know tells us that the ubiquitous squirrel may have been indigenous to North America, but Central Park’s squirrels didn’t come with the territory: The bushy-tailed natives had become all but extinct on Manhattan island by the 1850s due to rapid development. Just a year before the park’s creation, one lone squirrel, heading down a tree trunk on its way to extinction, stopped traffic as charmed New Yorkers marveled at the antics of the “unusual visitor” to the extent that they had to be dispersed by police, according to accounts by a paper of the day.
So how did they get here?