There are many animals in our world that have a purpose, one that can help the entire ecosystem around us - help the animals, help the soil, help everything. And yet, in the eyes of some people, these animals can be a pest, or even a threat to there lives.
One such animal is the Richardson's Ground Squirrel, commonly called a "gopher" or "flicker tail". The RGS does many good things for the ecosystem - there burrows are used by other animals (some of which are endangered), the burrows help promote drainage and promote good soil, and they are eaten by a wide variety of animals. However, since other animals can break there legs in these holes, many farmers see them as pests for farm animals, especially cattle.
Here is where I start Kesler's Story. Kesler is a RGS I purchased at an auction not far from the city I live. She was wild caught and was labelled as a "whistle dog" at the Auction. For those who don't know what a "whistle dog" is, it is when they catch a RGS and use it to chirp or alert wild ones. When they hear an unfamilar call, the wild ones investigate by looking around to see who and where the intruder is, this is when the hunter or farmer shoots at them. I bought her so she did not have this fate. However, when I bought her I knew little about them besides what they were used for, and I found out that she could not be returned to the wild, and when I had seen her prior to the auction, She was fine, but when I got her, her leg has swollen at least 3 times its size. But that is not suprising since they treated the animals so poorly. We have complained, and awaiting a response for justice, not only for Kesler, but for the other animals and for the animals that even perished! But, at that time we were worried for Kesler, and so off to the vet she went. They checked her leg and said it was not broken, probably sprained. However, its been over a month and she is still not well. It has gone down a bit, but the leg is still quite swollen and she has difficulty using it. She is quite wild and still not using her leg very much. Even if I could think of a good place to release her where there were no RGS already, I know the people in the area would try and poison her...
How I got her:
What she came in:
(its obvious how she can have hurt her foot)
At the Vet's:
What she looks like now:
(actually, since these pictures were taken, she's gain aaaalot of weight... )
Which then leads to No Name's Story... He didn't even live long enough for me to name him. My Great Grandmother (an huge animal lover) would have said, "that is because he hasn't told you it yet" ... Anyway, at school, I had noticed many RGS around, and like me, many of the students like to watch them, some even putting apple cores or chips near the burrow, so they could have a treat... though in recent weeks, I have also been noticing that any burrow that had seeds near it would have dead ones near the burrow the next day. It was obvious that they were poisoning them. This particular day, I was waiting for the bus, when in the corner of my eye, I saw something move. Well, I had known that many animals were around -robins and other birds especially, and assumed that is what I saw. I turned to watch since I loved to watch them run about, and from where I stood, I could tell it was no bird. So I got closer, and it looked like a tiny rodent! Now, a few feet away, it was obviously a baby RGS! It was adorable! They (school) had recently dug up the ground he was near and the lil guy was running up the hills and tumbling down them. To me, he looked confused, running forward, but then backtracking... then pausing, as to whether he should return or keep going. To the side of a tree, not far from him, I then spotted what I thought was his mom. I ducked, thinking she would chirp and he would dash to a nearby hole, but after awhile I peeked again at her. She did not budge and when I looked further, it was obvious she was dead. She was covered in something pink, that made her fur look wet, but since it had not rained and was warm, it should not have remained wet for long...I gazed back at the little one. Was this his mother? There were no others around this area, and RGS don't usually let others near there burrows... so it seemed odd if she wasn't. I walked further away for a bit. I watched two busses go by as I waited to see if anything would become of the little guy. No other RGS appeared, and he looked so lonely. I approached again, this time getting really close to him and inspected him. He was covered too with the pink stuff the other one had, but he seemed healthy. I reached down, and although I shouldn't have, I picked him up and he was ICE COLD. He chirped but for a moment, before curling in my hand and looked to be sleeping. I took him home, and tried to wash the pink stuff from him. It made his fur look wet, but it was dry. With water, it would not come off, and even with hand soap, it would not come off entirely. Some remained, but most did come off. I let the little guy dry off, and then I fed him some lettuce and got him some goats milk. He drank and ate well for two days and was lively, but then last Thursday he began to act odd. He started sleeping more, and around 2, he stopped using his back legs. He had always made this sort of clicking noise, but it got louder and louder. Around 3, I called the vet who said they were too booked up to see him. Then shortly after 5, he began convulsing and thrashing about, with each one worst than the last. My mother came and gave him saline, but it did nothing. I just prayed he would pull through and get over what was causing it, but he didn't. He finally passed at 8 as my mother held him, stroking his fur. Mom said when he was thrashing about, he was gasping for air... Odds are, the vets could do nothing... I don't know if she said that to comfort me or not... She also thinks it was poison, isn't sure that was the pink stuff, but just because what happened to him was common for poisons, and that they were around the school... I returned to School, and we burried him near where I had found him. I wanted to bury him with his mom, but she was gone then.
RIP, No name!
(he was a piggy when he ate... not so nice a pic)