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US parkies in 'burrow-buster' marmot detonation campaign

Explosives forestall squirrel population explosion

Senior parkies in the American city of Spokane are facing a barrage of criticism over their decision to exterminate troublesome tree-noshing squirrels by blowing up their burrows using fuel-air "bunker buster" type explosives.

It seems that Spokane's Finch Arboretum, well thought of among park aficionados, faces an escalating problem with tunnelling ground squirrels. These small, furry critters, closely related to the marmot, apparently eat new trees.

The Spokane parkies say that there are now perhaps 500 of the root-munching rodents ravaging the Arboretum and they have begun to spread across the city in an uncontrolled squirrel baby boom. The park authorities have already tried gassing the hungry little chaps in their burrows, but this didn't work.

Now, with the ground-squirrel mating season almost on top of them, the parkies have decided to take the gloves off. Rather than merely squirt poison gas into the tunnels of the marmot menace, they will inject a scientific blend of fuel and air. This will then be detonated in a devastating underground blast, instantly incinerating the nefarious squirrels and collapsing the tunnel.

Regular readers will have spotted that this is a very similar modus operandi to that of the fuel-air "bunker buster" thermobaric bombs sometimes favoured by US forces when putting foot to ass in the Wars On Stuff. The British Army also likes them, again for the purpose of blowing up bunkers or structures, and Russia's well known "father of all bombs" is of this type.

The Spokane parkies, however, aren't calling in airstrikes on the Arboretum; nor even deploying a relatively surgical shoulder-launched rocket. Instead, they are using "the Rodenator", a more economical handheld probe style of affair used to squirt "a controlled mixture of propane and oxygen" into the burrows of pesky underground pests and then detonate it. Needless to say, YouTube footage is available:

However, even these relatively gentle methods (compared to those that governments choose to use against humans, anyway) have caused a storm of criticism from Spokane creature-huggers.

Gail Mackenzie of the local Humane Society animal shelter, Spokanimal, reportedly said "You're kidding," on learning of the parkies' pocket bunker-buster bombardment campaign.

"That borders on cruelty," added the startled squirrel advocate.

Senior parkies were quick to enter a dialogue, saying they'd be happy to stop detonating marmots if someone were willing to ethnically cleanse them from the Arboretum by other means.

"If there's a group of people that think they can come in and provide a service of removal to another part of the state or something, that's fine we'll have that dialogue," said Barry Russell, city Parks Director.

"The problem is it's dire right now," he added. "The mating season is starting right now and the 300 to 500 we're estimating could be 2,000 in the coming months."

Russell promised that parkies' representatives would would "hope to sit down" with the Humane Society "in coming days". However the uncompromising parky chief said that the bombing would continue until negotiations were resolved to his satisfaction. ®

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