University's squirrel studies skewed


The University of Arizona repeatedly claims it moved to the illegal Columbus binocular telescope site on Mt. Graham because it had fewer squirrels. UA's own midden (squirrel food caches) studies, which we have obtained under the Freedom Of Information law, show there have always been more squirrels at the illegal site. The UA chose the illegal site because their belated 1992 and 1993 studies showed the site they lobbied Congress for in 1988 was the worst place on the mountain. But these studies say the site they illegally clear-cut is also "unacceptable." Their studies show southern Arizona's Mount Hopkins far superior for a major telescope. It is only stubbornness and ego that keeps UA from performing far superior science there.

From 1989 through 1993 UA-hired midden counters found from 28-100 percent more middens at the illegal site. Even after they cut the heart our of the illegal Columbus area, it stll had 16 percent more middens.

In a secret November 1993 email from UA to their Italian partners, UA boasted that with the "help" of Arizona's Sen. DeConcini the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service approved the illegal Columbus site. The Forest Service distorted the facts by totally ignoring five years of monthly squirrel data. They rationalized their illegal move by using data from only one month in the fall of 1993. Furthermore, without scientific justification they arbitrarily discarded data on 89 percent of the middens in the study area in violation of the lawful monitoring requirements.

Congressman Kolbe would now try to prevent UA from performing far superior science at Mount Hopkins or elsewhere. He would have UA again circumventing the lawful, court-ordered studies and covering up the scandalous DeConcini-skewed Forest Service biological quackery.

Anne Carl

Development Coordinator

Student Environmental Action Coalition

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