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Squirrel Cull

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Drusilla | 16:10 Mon 23rd Jan 2006 | Animals & Nature
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The Government have agreed to a large scale cull of grey squirrels, particularly around areas known to have red squirrel populations.

Do you think it's a good idea to protect the native red, or should the grey, which was only introduced to England about 150 years ago, be allowed to prosper in this 'survival of the fittest' contest?



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as the grey squirrel is an introduced species and foreign to these shores i think it should quite rightly be reduced in numbers.the difference between the two is the grey cannot co exist with the red as it is a very aggresive squirrel whereas the red is not.where we live the grey is just coming into the picture in aberdeen shire and we have few enough reds without them getting run out by an ideal world they would co exist but the greys dont allow it.the grey squirrel is already on the quarry list(you can kill and shoot them already)so it would be a case of concentrating more effort around red strongholds

Yes, it's a good idea - red squirrels evoke Beatrix Potter and the Tufty Club, whereas grey squirrels are North American tree-rats.

The reds should be protected from the greys with whatever means it takes.
I too say protect the reds, have you ever seen one? They are so much cuter than the greys!, and as the greys are an introduced species why shouldn't we protect our own native animals? If we don't they won't be around that much longer.
It's more to do with a parapoxvirus which it is believed the Grey are able to resist which is fatal to the Red. As the Greys increase in number so does the Reds exposure to the virus, causing their numbers to dwindle. All tree rats were considered vermin in Victorian times including the Red, but in the interests of biodiversity it would almost certainly be best to restore the ecosystem to pre-1850 levels of squirrel distribution.
Just a bit more, and showing my age, in the 50's, on our infrequent trips to Kew Gardens, after leaving kew underground station, you'd walk accross a green where the reds abounded, being fed peanuts by visiters, that was the last time i've seen one in the wild, now, we have a Butterfly farm close to us, and they are getting some reds for a breeding program, really looking forward to it.
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Thanks for the extra information, Rabelais. I suspected there was more to this than just a desire to kill greys.

Lonnie, I'm 35, have lived most of my life in London and have never seen a red squirrel, which is sad. On the other hand, I've seen more foxes by the side of the tracks on the Underground near Uxbridge than I ever saw in the countryside.

To be brief, i think we have two cute fury animals, one highly specialised in its habits, the other (the grey) is far more addaptable in every way.

The way i see it is, man upset the balance of nature by introducing the grey, be it on purpose or accidental, but in any case, a mistake. the grey did'nt cross the atlantic by its self, and i think it is up to man to readress the mistake in the most effective way possible, before the greys take over the last few remaining strongholds for reds in these Isles..

So, as usual, animals have to suffer because man couldn't resist interfering in nature.

We brought the grey squirrel over here without any thought to the consequences, and now that we don't like those consequences, we're quite happy to kill them off.

The problem is of man's making, but instead of trying to find a reasonable solution, let's just solve it by killing things. Not much of an argument for the superiority of mankind is it?

I have seen reds on Brownsea Island and the Isle of Wight. I used to live on the Isle of Wight- there are no greys there- only reds. I remember the hoo-ha one day when a grey managed to get across on one of the ferries (dont know how it afforded a ticket......). It was chased all over Yarmouth for the best part of a day til it was caught and deported back to the mainland.
What do you suggest then Delilahcat as a more reasonable solution? This problem arose many, many years ago before problems like this were even noted, let alone forseeable consequences of actions. I believe the red squirrels should be aided wherever possible, but I don't think there is a humane way to stem the tide of the grey squirrel. Other than the construction of some tiny squirrel internment camps (staffed by vegeterian cats or otters maybe ;)) and shipping all the greys back to North America.

A cull is considered a humane way of euthanasia for injured/diseased animals and population control. It might be the case that in another 150 years grey squirrels may be culled for being a too sucessful introduction into our ecosystem.....after the extinction of the native red squirrel. is far from perfect and i am glad to say you cannot take this generation to task for what man done generations is not a case of not thinking what they were doing and more not having the knowledge of what they were have to remember with technology and advances in all fields it is harder (or should be harder) for man to make these mistakes now as we realise nature should not be messed with.not far from me in aberdeenshire,they are on about reintroducing wolves.wolves were hunted to extinction for the same reason as i see there being no point in having them back,they are a threat to humans and all livestock.this is an example of mans constant need to interfere with nature,usually thought of by someone sitting in an office.the release is supposed to be in invernesshire,if it goes also say a reasonable solution.please if you post an answer,could you explain a reasonable solution and not just write that.for an animal threatening to extinct a native animal that is so widespread in the wild the only way is a cull.
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sako, when I ask a question I'm quite happy to hear everyone's point of view, whether they have a solution to a problem, or not. I'm grateful for your contribution, but I don't think delilahcat is under any obligation to say more than she wants to say, just to please you.

Having no answer or doing nothing is sometimes a viable option in conservation, left to nature some things will sort themselves out, but if you look at the increase of the grey sqirrel, its not hard to see that it will eventuall completely wipe out its red cousin and we will have yet another animal to add to the extinct list if we rest on our laurels and nothing..
drusilla,apologies if i annoyed you with my post.have only been on a few days and maybe taking it too serious.i didnt mean that delihlah should post just to please me.i only meant that the post she sent was not an answer to your question.the post was all about how man is happy to kill things,not if reds should be protected or greys left to get on with it.most of the other posts answered your question and gave a reason,and i was hoping that someone would have a view different from myself and also a reason why it is different from mine.was dissapointed that "reasonable solution" was mentioned but no ideas were forthcoming.apologies to delilahcat too

there is a woods near me that has only red squirrels they are thriving and the rangers i suppose would remove any greys.

I think the land is so separate - surrounded by the sea, towns and whatver - that greys would have to travel a long way to get there so perhaps that is the answer?

find areas that have large towns around them and separate them

easier said than done i know but perhaps after the cull that would be a wise thing to think of.

I can see joko's point in concentrating efforts around the reletivly few remaining red squirrel strongholds but i think we should'nt loose sight of how easily they can recollonise.

Over the last 20 years i have noticed the greys adapting themselves from their woodland homes to urban and industrial areas and finding places like loft spaces to raise their young and plundering bird tables and raiding bird nest boxes of eggs and chicks..

I know that you can get levered/platform feeding devices that will feed red squirrels but not they greys as they are a lighter species. However in this bountiful temperate the UK, this apparently would not be effective in limiting the expanding population of greys due to their sheer numbers and almost-extinction of the reds. However it might be much more effective after a cull of grey squirrels: I for one would definitely purchase some of these feeders to try and help the reds recolonise my garden.....if i had a garden, or anywhere to put them indeed ;-)

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