Two hundred years into its history, Indiana remains behind its American brethren in one significant area.
Forty-six states in this great Union boast a state mammal, an animal symbolizing each state’s culture, environment or traditions.
Indiana is one of four states with no such representation.
Ohio, Illinois and Michigan … they’ve all got the whitetail deer. Kentuckians have two animals in the gray squirrel and thoroughbred horse. California, the grizzly bear. Washington, the marmot. New York, the beaver. Even Alaska (moose) and Hawaii (monk seal) have staked their claim to mammalian symbols.
But we in the Hoosier State are left with nothing but a cardinal as the state bird and peony as the state flower.
A 9-year-old from Anderson has a campaign underway to change that. And his effort — and initiative — deserve your support.
Tristan Fox hopes to get a bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly that would make the red fox Indiana’s state mammal. The fact that his chosen mammal shares his last name is mere coincidence — in fact, he considered other animals first.
The red fox, however, is an excellent choice. No other state has laid claim to the bushy-tailed canine. Foxes are omnivores, which means they consume both plants and other animals but could be representative of Indiana’s duality with rural and urban areas. And the critters are also known for their intelligence and cunning, at least in popular folklore.
To bring Indiana up to speed, Tristan needs some help. He’s reached out to Sen. Doug Eckerty (R-Yorktown) to sponsor the bill this session. But he needs all of us to tell the senator we support it.
So send Eckerty letters at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204. Email firstname.lastname@example.org; or call 317-232-9466.
Do it because you like foxes. Do it because you want some mammalian representation. Or simply do it to show support for a 9-year-old who showed the interest, initiative and moxie to get involved.