It seems the little furry face of the red squirrel is wanted back in our woodlands, and some organisations will eradicate the grey squirrel for it.
The UK’s native red squirrels survived the north american grey invasion by a whiskers length, they now reside in small populations around the country.
Organisations such as The Cornwall Red Squirrel Project (CRSP) are looking to reintroduce red squirrels by culling the grey squirrels in areas of Cornwall.
The CRSP was prompted by a study from the scientific adviser to the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, who suggested the location was perfect for red squirrels to thrive if reintroduced.
But why do the grey squirrels have to be culled?
Grey squirrels carry the squirrel-pox virus which is fatal to red squirrels if contracted.
However, the idea to ‘eradicate’ the grey squirrels in Cornwall has been met with some hostility. Both there and locally.
Julie, 29, from Bournemouth says;
There are lots of squirrels in the lower gardens here and my daughter loves them! If that sort of project were to catch on here it would be very sad to see.”
Although there is obviously a moral issue here, a report from Red Squirrels United has stated that red squirrels are more highly valued. Therefore, efforts to help them thrive are encouraged.
In November 2016, the CRSP began to look at more favorable non-lethal methods of control such as immunocontraceptives. This may possibly be the answer to saving the reds whilst still not using trapping methods to control the greys.