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The Forgotten History of How Cities Almost Killed the Common Squirrel

At last, historians have charted the great "squirrel experiments" of the 1800s, which saved the humble creature from urban extinction.
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July 4, 1856: Bystanders gather under a tree in New York's Central Park. Their excitement attracts more people until the crowd numbers in the hundreds. Somebody props a ladder against the trunk. Another grabs a 20-foot-long pole and jabs it into the leaves.

Did the circus lose a fez-wearing monkey? Hardly anything so ordinary! It was a gray squirrel, which had escaped from a cage in an apartment building and scurried across traffic to take refuge in the park.