Tuesday, 15 April 2008

UK grey squirrel cull

Interesting story in the news here, which affects woodlands across the country:

Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist. But Mr Parker conserves by killing.

His chosen prey is the North American Grey Squirrel. The animals are first trapped and then despatched.

His Northumberland-based organisation, the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership, say they have culled more than 15,000 squirrels in little over a year. That works out as approximately 200 squirrels a week.

So why does he do it? Mr Parker is clear: "They are carrying squirrel pox which kills the reds. They also hammer the bird population, they kill the chicks to get into nest boxes and they eat eggs.

"We are going to end up losing all our reds within 10 years if we don't take these out of the equation."
Although that isn't the only view:

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals said: "The RSPCA believes that control must not be interpreted solely as lethal control, and urges the investigation of alternative measures to reduce the impact of grey squirrels on reds, whilst ensuring both reds and greys do not suffer.

"We support a more measured approach. Eradicating long-established entire populations of greys, as well as being ethically questionable, would be very difficult and cause unnecessary suffering."

This is an argument which is dismissed by the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership. They believe quick action is needed.

And where do the dead squirrels go?

A game shop in Corbridge is our next stop.

The last two grey squirrel loins are on sale in the window. The furry creatures have become the latest game delicacy.


Colin said...

No you can't re-introduce the red squirrel to East Sussex, my wolves would eat them. I am with the RSPCA on this one, Just stop wanting to kill things! Everyone! Give it a little thought first, find out what it's role is and manage the land with harmony and sympathy for the environment. I think of it as "environmental coppicing" I am going to get a moose.

Mike Pepler said...

I reckon it would be impossible to eradicate the grey squirrels in our area anyway, even if we wanted too.

I do wonder if they could become a sustainable supply of meat though!

My chainsaw instructor always had his air rifle with him and would shoot grey squirrels whenever he saw them, mainly because of the damage they do to the bark on trees, but also to take some of them home to eat.