Cheyenne city officials are telling people to stop feeding squirrels in city parks.

That's according to a news release from the city's Urban Forestry Division.

According to the release, the population of squirrels is out of control in parks and natural areas of the city due to people constantly feeding them.

The aninals are damaging the bark and cambium, choking off the movement of water and nutrients through the tree.

The release says this causes branches in older trees to become girdled resulting in extensive dieback that weakens the tree. With younger trees, the squirrels girdle the trunk which can kill the tree.

The damage the squirrels are causing to trees in city parks is threatening the vitality of the forest canopy.

According to the release:

“Currently, in several parks, there are more squirrels than the ecosystem can really handle,” said Mark Ellison, City Forester. “Squirrels are wild animals that can fend for themselves and shouldn’t be treated as our pets.”

The city will be placing signs in city parks discouraging people from feeding the squirrels.

This isn't the first time that city officials have warned people against feeding wildlife in city parks.

City officials earlier this year warned about squirrels damaging trees in Holliday Park in particular.

And it's not always squirrels causing problems either.

Several years ago city officials expressed concern about people feeding geese in city parks, especially in Holliday Park where some of the birds at that time had reportedly become aggressive towards park users. The birds were also leaving excessive amounts of feces in some park areas.

 

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