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White Squirrels

White squirrels are first-class royalty in Olney, Illinois. They have the right-of-way in all streets and are protected by law. Even the police department sports a picture of the white squirrel. It's believed these unique creatures first arrived in Olney in the early 1900s, and they have become both an enduring symbol of city pride and a tourist attraction ever since. In this episode, WSIU InFocus takes a closer look at the white squirrel during Olney's annual three weekend squirrel count. In the mid-1970s, Jon Stencel, an instructor at Olney Central College, received a small grant to study the squirrels and began monitoring their population. In recent years, however, the population of these popular creatures has shown a decline. Stencel explains that Olney is trying to rebuild the white squirrel population by limiting the number of pets and encouraging residents to feed the squirrels with free feed provided by the city.

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