2012
06.02

Air Force’s New Mission: Save the Squirrel

The latest example of how the military budget is working hard to protect our freedoms. Wired Danger Room reports: Air Force’s New Target: Mojave Ground Squirrel.

Mohave Squirrel

Death on Two Feet


“The Air Force is on the hunt for a new detector. It’s gotta be rugged — able to withstand extreme temperatures, blistering 50-mph winds and barren desert conditions. But it’s not meant to detect dangerous insurgents, powerful explosives or undercover spies. Its target is one big … bad … Mojave ground squirrel.”

The Wiki tells us: “The Mohave ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus mohavensis) is a species of ground squirrel found only in the Mojave Desert in California. The squirrel was discovered in 1886 by Frank Stephens of San Diego (after whom the Stephens Soft-Haired Ground Squirrel is named. It is listed as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act, but not under the federal Endangered Species Act. The IUCN lists this species as vulnerable.”

“Mohave ground squirrels emit a high-pitched “peep” as an alarm call, when startled or when young begin to emerge from their natal burrows. The vocalization is sometimes confused with that of the Horned Lark. Mohave ground squirrels can occasionally be sighted perched in Lycium cooperii or in Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) during mid-morning (9-11 a.m.) hours (April–June) basking in the sun.”

In order to track these nasty little fellows it looks like the Air Force has its work cut out—but as they say, “The impossible just takes a little longer.” They have a plan.

Wired continues: “And under the Endangered Species Act, the Department of Defense is required to maintain and protect that home (for the squirrels, that is). Keeping track of all these critters costs the military time, manpower and resources — not to mention thousands of dollars…the Air Force is looking for some help from acoustic technology, as the service announced in a recent call for research proposals.”

“The military prides itself on protecting American lives. But it doesn’t want you to forget how much it cares about the desert tortoise and red-cockaded woodpecker.”

I think I see some Air Force Fighter Jocks re-training for the Drone Recon Missions of the 21st. Century.