Banff, AB – Known for ages as an act of vandalism throughout the world, gravestone tipping and grave sinking have become quite the distraction for groundskeepers at Old Banff and Mountain View cemeteries in this popular tourist destination in Alberta, Canada. Fortunately the culprits are neither tourists nor residents, but unfortunately Columbian ground squirrels are.
Yup, people are dying to get in either of these bone-orchards.
We met Thomas “Digger” Sepulcher who is one of the crew members at Mountain View, and asked, “What is that noise?”
“Darned if I know,” Mr. Sepulcher answered, “I thought you wanted to know about the Columbians.”
Moving on, despite the droning in the background, we sought his input about the varmints.
“The Columbian ground squirrels are native to these here parts. They like open spaces, and enjoy burrowing near boulders,” he added instructively. “Unfortunately, grave markers resemble boulders apparently, and the burrows weaken the ground underneath them.”
Don’t call them gophers! They’re proud of their squirrelly heritage.
The workers at these two heritage sites have been actively live-trapping, and relocating the gopher-like critters.
“Gophers!?” exclaimed the one spokes-squirrel we could find. “We are not bloody gophers!” squealed Urocitellus “Don’t call me Pablo” Columbianus, “We are proudly Canadian rodents.”
He too had no idea about the noise in the background, but admitted, “It is louder in my burrows due to the density of the ground.”
He didn’t seem too fond of the trapping/relocation project.
‘Tombstones, like boulders, act as burrow markers for us. No one consulted us when the graveyard was built in 1890.”
The more than 2000 graves in the two cemeteries, a lot of burrowing comes naturally to Mr. Columbianus and his kind.
“We put rabbits to shame reproductively,” he offered braggingly. “And caskets, while a titch smelly, make for excellent breeding sites. We have witnessed a few humans going at it topside, so what the hell?”
Urocitellus, pictured here, telling humans to fornicate elsewhere
At press time, the whirring noise was deciphered, by agents of Parks Canada, as the sound of 2000 cadavers spinning in their graves as a result of the commotion caused by news of the grave-marker tipping.
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