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Berkeley May Kill Off Hundreds Of Squirrels, Gophers Over Environmental Worries

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A ground squirrel photographed in a California public park. (David McNew/Getty Images)

A ground squirrel photographed in a California public park. (David McNew/Getty Images)

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BERKELEY (CBS SF) – One of the country’s most tolerant and inclusive cities plans to kill off hundreds of its residents over concerns that they are damaging the environment.

Berkeley plans to exterminate hundreds of ground squirrels and western pocket gophers who are burrowing holes in the shoreline of Cesar Chavez Park, potentially exposing the bay to toxins from a landfill below, according to a report in the Contra Costa Times.

The landfill was converted to a park in the early 90’s, and has since been filled with holes by the burrowing animals. Environmentalists fear that those holes will allow the transfer of chemicals into the San Francisco Bay to chemicals from the landfill, especially in rainy weather.

The newspaper says the city has tried several fixes since the problem surfaced in 2009 but none of them have worked. The new plan would see a contractor fence off and eliminate the animals in one acre sections at a time.

Berkeley will hire a contractor to kill off the critters. It was unclear what method would be used.

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