The first group of rescued evacuees from flood ravaged Houston have arrived in Amarillo.

50 arrived here Wednesday.  It was a long strange trip for these evacuees after first being part of a group of 1,600 that fled Houston and found themselves in Austin.  That was too many for Austin to handle.  Amarillo is trying to do its part by taking in some of these refugees.

Not people.  Baby squirrels.

The Austin Wildlife Rescue has more animals than it can care for, taking in many species from areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.  They contacted the Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Amarillo and asked if they could help.  Send us your squirrels they said.  Send us as many as you can get here.

A group of 50 squirrels was trucked into Amarillo earlier this week and dropped off at Canyon Road Animal Hospital.  They are in good health, wary of standing bodies or water, and waiting to be assigned to volunteer homes.  The squirrels are little babies, many yet to be weaned.  They will require bottle feeding before being released into the High Plains wild.

You read “released in the High Plains wild” correctly.  These refugees, much like many Katrina evacuees from over 10 years ago, won’t be returning to the scene of the disaster.  They will sink roots here on the Panhandle, leading a normal life of nut gathering and procreation.

This will go a long way towards taking squirrels off the ty endangered species lists in Potter and Randall Counties.  Squirrels were getting almost as rare here as horny toads.  It’s encouraging and heartwarming to know through the tragedy of Harvey, Amarillo can take steps to rehabilitate the local squirrel population.

This should more than make up for the handful of squirrels I’ve accidentally run down in my car since I arrived in Amarillo over a decade ago.

What it must be like standing in waist deep water, desperately needing a ride out of the disaster, only to see a large truck filled with squirrels drive by, taking its passengers to safety.