Saturday, October 3, 2020

Sycip Park Meditation turned into a Squirrel Hunt - Invasion of an Invasive Species?

Finlayson's squirrel in Sycip Park
I normally seek the company of trees during the weekends so I can draw in different kinds of vibes and energies during meditation.  Today, I took another bench in the Washington Sycip Park in Makati, my regular haunt, as my favorite one was occupied.  It was providential as I spotted movement high up a tree near a Bagras (rainbow Eucalyptus tree) right in front of where I was seated and sipping my Dunkin' coffee.  My first thought was it may be a skink or rodent.  Well, it was a rodent alright but not a rat.  Rather, it was a squirrel.  Some park maintenance staff I briefly chatted with said there's a pair residing in the park though they do not have an idea of where these came from.  My hunch is that they can be pets released into the park by hobbyists.  Fellow blogger and long-time friend, Dong Ho of, shared this Esquire Magazine link on Squirrels in Metro Manila, which may offer an explanation.

The humid weather turned drizzly so I packed up as soon as the light dimmed.  No birds spotted (not even the resident Maria Capras) but hey, I sighted a squirrel.  Invasive species or not, it's a sight to behold alright.  In my many visits to the Sycip Park, it's the first time I encountered an animal there other than a bird or lizard.

Update:  I submitted the image for ID confirmation on an FB group and it's confirmed as the Finlayson's squirrel (Callosciurus finlaysonii), endemic in other Southeast Asian neighbors such as Thailand and Cambodia.  How the squirrels ended up in the park and in other Metro Manila parks can be subject to much speculation as well as conspiracy theories.


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