Moving out: Squirrels in Mobile’s Bienville Square find a new home [VIDEO]

Bienville Park Square
The root of the problem: squirrels. Photo via Summer Guffey for The Bama Buzz

Did you hear? The City of Mobile is relocating some meddling squirrels from Bienville Square in order to preserve the historic oaks and moderate squirrel overpopulation. Read more to get all the deets on where these cute and nutty animals will be living.

All you need to know about Bienville Square

Colonizer
The French colonist: Jean-Baptise Le Moyne de Bienville. Photo via Encyclopedia of Alabama

As one of the oldest cities in Alabama, Mobile has a plethora of distinctive historic landmarks, such as the beautiful Battle House Renaissance Hotel & Spa, Old Dauphin Way and Fort Conde-Charlotte House. Another important historical landmark is Bienville Square, a historic park in the heart of Mobile. 

According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, the park was named after Jean-Baptise Le Moyne de Bienville, a Frenchman who established the earliest Mobile forts and served in top leadership positions of the Louisiana colony.

It wasn’t until 1824 when Bienville Square became an official city park—years after Jean-Baptise had passed. The park is bordered by four historic streets: Dauphin, Saint Joseph, Saint Francis and North Conception.

Notable features of the park include:

  • Historic oak trees, planted live in the late 1800s
  • a bronze plaque of Cudjo Lewis, the last survivor of Clotilda, the last known slave ship to arrive in the US
  • a huuuuge congregation of squirrels

Moving out

Fountain At Bienville Park Square
Bienville’s fountain Photo via Summer Guffey for The Bama Buzz

In 2020, Bienville Square suffered heavy damage due to Hurricane Sally. In the aftermath, the City of Mobile partnered with Fairehope-based Wildlife Solution, Inc. to help get a better understanding of the park’s native population. 

Interestingly, they found that the number of squirrels per acre in Bienville Square is significantly higher than squirrel populations in other municipal parks.

But what do squirrels have to do with damage from the hurricane?

Squirrels take newly formed twigs, inner bark and leaves off trees which can lead to the tree’s death if too much is taken. To sum it all up, too many squirrels—in addition to the damage from the hurricane—could lead to the destruction of a significant portion of Bienville Square. 

So, the plan of relocating some squirrels begins.

Daddy, I want a squirrel. Video via Summer Guffey for The Bama Buzz

Why relocate the squirrels?

Van Gogh Ear
A Van Gogh ear—er shell—at the Square in 2017. Photo via Summer Guffey for The Bama Buzz

If you’ve ever made your way to the square, then you’ve been greeted by multiple squirrels begging for your food as your pet would. But sadly, squirrel overpopulation can have negative impacts on the historic oak trees in the park. So relocating them is the best option.  

“We brought in a wildlife expert to make sure we were prioritizing the health and safety of the iconic oaks in the square and the squirrels Mobilians know and love. By relocating some of the squirrels, we can keep the population at a level that is more sustainable for an area that size. This will ultimately make the squirrel population healthier and ensure our trees are protected.” 

Sandy Stimpson, Mobile Mayor

The Wildlife Solutions and the City of Mobile are beginning their effort to humanely trap approximately 25 squirrels in the square, which they’ll relocate to more suitable habitats in rural areas of Mobile County.

So if you pass through the Square soon, don’t be alarmed by the uptick of small traps. It may be a nutty situation, but an important one to help the park thrive.

Have you seen the squirrels at Bienville Square? Tag us @thebamabuzz, we want to see your pics.

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Summer Guffey

Lover of Weiss Lake in the summertime and camping at Cheaha in the autumn.

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