Grey squirrels are killed using a variety of barbaric but legal methods, including being clubbed to death and shot. Their crime? According to some: not being ‘native’.
Grey squirrels are demonised and blamed for a number of misdeeds, including damage to trees and reducing numbers of red squirrels. The sad truth is more that changing landscapes in Britain, and human activity has a lot more to do with declining numbers of red squirrels.
Some Wildlife Trusts in Britain are culling grey squirrels in a misguided effort to increase the number of red squirrels.
This legitimisation of cruel culling by the Wildlife Trusts is severely disappointing. It is even more disappointing considering that the Wildlife Trusts have spoken out against culling of badgers. Many of the same criticisms levelled at the badger cull could also apply to the culling of grey squirrels.
Volunteers are being trained to kill grey squirrels in a programme led by Wildlife Trusts. We ask people to stop financially supporting the Wildlife Trusts while this culling is continued.
Red squirrel numbers can be boosted in a number of ways without harming the grey squirrel, including establishing them on islands, changing tree planting patterns and offering supplementary feeding.
But there is a bigger question, as habitats and the climate continue to change, is it justifiable, or even practical, to try to force certain species to live in a landscape that can no longer support them? As new species move in and thrive they should certainly not be eradicated simply because they did not originate there.
Conservationists are beginning to realise this.Need help deterring squirrels? View our humane deterrence sheet
Five ways you can help squirrels
- Write a letter to your local newspaper. See sample letters. If you don’t know its address, contact Animal Aid.
- Read The True History of Grey Squirrels in Britain by Independent Wildlife Consultant, John Bryant
- Look out for articles in papers and online about squirrels, and counter the false assertions
- Don’t use squirrel proof feeders, as they can get trapped inside
- Send a postcard to the Wildlife Trusts condemning their participation in grey squirrel culls.