The squirrel researcher is a PhD student here, and she obviously had a good rapport with the groundskeepers. I would wager that those two guys were very different from her in terms of political beliefs, lifestyle, culture, and IQ, but they still had the camaraderie of people who work outdoors with living things. There were interested in the capturing and tagging process, and they try to schedule their work so they do not interfere with the research. They know that the squirrels are doing a lot of damage; over the summer a dozen trees had to be removed because the squirrels had stripped the bark. I got the impression that they respected her as one of the team.
She was doing a population study, trapping and tagging the squirrels with ear tags. The best current guess is that there are around 500-600 squirrels on campus, but nobody has done recent research. Her long-term research project is investigating the effects of squirrel population control with an oral contraceptive. In addition to population counts, it will involve toxicology studies, including capturing hawks on campus and drawing their blood to see if they are affected.
People have been deliberately interfering with her squirrel traps, either closing them or stealing them, presumably because they think that the squirrels are being killed. This kind of ignorant emotion-driven action is harming the research, and if she cannot prove that her contraceptive program works, then people will continue to manage squirrel populations by culling.
I commented that these were probably the same people who feed the feral cats. She started complaining about the feral cats, the damage they do, and how the university would not approve any plan to control their numbers. She also mentioned an incident in which a cat was tormenting a trapped squirrel, and said, "I am a vegan, but I wanted to kill that feral cat and eat it for dinner."
I got the impression that she was a serious nature-lover; she really believed in keeping a natural balance, controlling invasive species, and never killing anything without eating it. I am much more sympathetic to that viewpoint than the typical animal-lover who falls in love with cute furry things without any thought for the big picture.