Grey Squirrels in danger from Natural England licensing disgrace

Grey squirrels have faced a new risk this year. From December, a new law on ‘invasive species’ will make it illegal to rescue and release ‘non-native’ animals such as grey squirrels and Muntjac deer.

These animals have long faced persecution in this country, with widespread culling, but this is an exceptional new step by the government. To prevent the must vulnerable orphaned and injured squirrels from being rescued is utterly shocking and undeniably cruel. 

 Natural England wrote to all of those who are currently licensed to rescue and re-release grey squirrels at the end of last year, informing them that their licenses would be withdrawn in March. This would effectively make it illegal to rescue and release grey squirrels. Following campaigning by Animal Aid, Urban Squirrels, Wildlife Aid, and many others, the changes were pushed back to October, with the concession that rescued squirrels would be allowed to be kept in captivity. The changes were then delayed further, until December. While this is progress, we do not think it is fair to keep a healthy animal in captivity unless it is essential to their wellbeing.

No animal should be cruelly and pointlessly culled because of their origins. Wildlife rescue centres should not have to choose between subjecting wild animals to an unnatural life in captivity, or being forced to euthanise them because of the law. All wildlife deserves to be treated with respect and compassion, regardless of their origins. 

We call on Natural England to reverse this decision, and to continue issuing licences to allow rescue centres to do their job, unhindered by these rules.

What can you do to help?

Write to Natural England