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View Full Version : Grey squirrels face massive cull



Exedous
23-01--2006, 10:32 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4635330.stm

A massive cull of grey squirrels is to take place across Britain to try to halt declining numbers of the endangered native red population.


Biodiversity minister Jim Knight said "humane and targeted pest control" would cull greys in areas where red squirrels are being 'squeezed out'.

Most reds are confined to Scotland, Cumbria and Northumbria, the Isle of Wight and islands in Poole Harbour.
They are weaker than grey squirrels, which also carry the Squirrelpox virus.

This is a ridiculos notion, we are all out prepared to cull a certian animal to save another, for the simple fact that one is indeginious, and the other not?? Am i led to believe that we shall start a human or pet culling on the same basis. Many of us carry ilness, and while human or non human animal, may not be on the same basis, i still do not uphold this ridiculos "cull" The same happened with hedgehogs, the same with badgers, different situations, but it is still massacre for no reason.

Ghost

Dapablo
23-01--2006, 11:00 AM
You could view it as man trying to redress the damage done to the environment. They do mention sterilisation as an alternative to death, preferable ?

Exedous
23-01--2006, 11:11 AM
They do mention sterilisation as an alternative to death, preferable ?

That to me is as ridiculos, i understand that this is , in some respects "conservation"...but how far can it go, what "culls" will we next accept....its going to far..IMHO.

Ghost

Rook
23-01--2006, 11:19 AM
That to me is as ridiculos, i understand that this is , in some respects "conservation"...but how far can it go, what "culls" will we next accept....its going to far..IMHO.

Ghost
Typical govt responce. If in doubt kill something. Dont mention culling humans it will only give them ideas.

wiggy
23-01--2006, 12:08 PM
Thats horrible - the grey and reds dont like each other - but killing some if them isnt on really.

We have a park outside our house and we get some greys there - i dont like red ones they look like the devils offspring

Boy Anachronism
23-01--2006, 12:09 PM
I think that instead of poisoning the grey squirrels, they should give steroids to the red squirrels. And possibly arm them. That should redress the natural balance.

Seriously though, the grey squirrel has decimated the red population in a very short time, so, I think that something should be done, but killing animals to save them isn't it. Ever.

Sterilisation isn't ideal, but, if handled intelligently and with compassion, could provide an alternative to the dreaded "cull".

Then again, should people be intervening in evolutionary matters? Obviously the Grey squirrel is the fittest survivor, and maybe we should let them drive the red's to extinction. Maybe we should get those crazy jap scientists in to make them glow in the dark? That'd make 'em much easier prey.

Firinne
23-01--2006, 04:34 PM
You could say the same about mice/rats/cockroaches too, but because they're not so cute there's never the same reaction. I agree though, I love squirrels and the idea of culling them doesn't sit well with me either.

Sunny
24-01--2006, 11:13 AM
Hmmm, it's a tricky one... Personally I do think something should be done about grey squirrels. I think they are wonderful animals, but they do cause a lot of damage to native woodlands and the animals in them. It is like the rose-billed parakeets that have been introduced - they are thriving so well that the little garden birds don't stand a chance. That has knock on effects on the whole system, causing problems for all the other species down the chain. Grey squirrels are the same.
May be we shouldn't be sticking our noses into evolutionary changes, but like Dapablo said, "you could view it as man trying to redress the damage done to the environment". I think red squirrels naturally work more companionably next the British wildlife too - for example they need to horde less food, so can survive alongside the other birds and such better and each species will benefit. I guess it does mean that the big, bulshy american squirrels can come and settle in quite comfortably. Grey squirrels put on a lot more body fat than reds, which gives them a better chance at survival. They are also more adaptable, living in hedgerows, parks and gardens as well as forests and woodlands. Red squirrels however, survive best in deciduous woodlands, or, their favourite, a mature scots pine woodland. So I can see why they've scuttled off and are seen a lot in Scotland, for one!

Red squirrel numbers have always been up and down... In the early 20th century they were also shot as timber pests, just as they were starting to do well again.

Personally I think that red squirrels are much better for British countryside... Grey squirrels are wonderful animals, but their population has 'exploded', making it hard for other species to survive.
The sterilisation idea sounds interesting. It also looks like there are a number of different groups involved, many of which (I can't say much for DEFRA) care a great deal about animal welfare. If I cull is taken place, it will be very carefully thought out and as humane as possible. No cull is nice, but sometimes they are necessary. Personally I think some natural hazards act as 'human culls' for this overpopulated world.... eeep... :o

Starling
24-01--2006, 11:23 AM
I think that instead of poisoning the grey squirrels, they should give steroids to the red squirrels. And possibly arm them. That should redress the natural balance.

Lol, not a bad idea.

I love red squirrels. There's loads at the park where i'm doing my dissertation fieldwork. I talk to them, and they get quite confused and annoyed :angel: But, yeh, back on topic, they don't like greys at that park. If you see one you have to tell the caretaker who will hunt for it and shoot it. I prefer their other tactic to reduce their numbers. They have cages around the squirrel feeders, and only the red ones can squeeze through the bars to feed.

Aunty Al
24-01--2006, 11:23 AM
Hmmm, it's a tricky one... Personally I do think something should be done about grey squirrels. I think they are wonderful animals, but they do cause a lot of damage to native woodlands and the animals in them. It is like the rose-billed parakeets that have been introduced - they are thriving so well that the little garden birds don't stand a chance. That has knock on effects on the whole system, causing problems for all the other species down the chain. Grey squirrels are the same.
May be we shouldn't be sticking our noses into evolutionary changes, but like Dapablo said, "you could view it as man trying to redress the damage done to the environment". I think red squirrels naturally work more companionably next the British wildlife too - for example they need to horde less food, so can survive alongside the other birds and such better and each species will benefit. I guess it does mean that the big, bulshy american squirrels can come and settle in quite comfortably. Grey squirrels put on a lot more body fat than reds, which gives them a better chance at survival. They are also more adaptable, living in hedgerows, parks and gardens as well as forests and woodlands. Red squirrels however, survive best in deciduous woodlands, or, their favourite, a mature scots pine woodland. So I can see why they've scuttled off and are seen a lot in Scotland, for one!

Red squirrel numbers have always been up and down... In the early 20th century they were also shot as timber pests, just as they were starting to do well again.

Personally I think that red squirrels are much better for British countryside... Grey squirrels are wonderful animals, but their population has 'exploded', making it hard for other species to survive.
The sterilisation idea sounds interesting. It also looks like there are a number of different groups involved, many of which (I can't say much for DEFRA) care a great deal about animal welfare. If I cull is taken place, it will be very carefully thought out and as humane as possible. No cull is nice, but sometimes they are necessary. Personally I think some natural hazards act as 'human culls' for this overpopulated world.... eeep... :o
I do hear what is being said on the pro- control side of this argument but still wonder cynically if this is just going to be the start of a programme of culling animals that are seen as unwanted. The general public may accept the idea of culling grey squirrels in favour of the "cuter" red ones. Many people see the grey squirrels as rat-like vermin anyway. Personally I think that rats are one of the coolest animals around because of the way they have learned to thrive off our wasteful and untidy existences. But there is already talk of re-commencing widespread badger culling because it has been tenuously linked to bovine TB. What next? Do foxes spread bird flu? Should we cull wild birds in case they present a threat? Culling just upsets the balance further, and causes more problems further down the line, IMO.

Starling
24-01--2006, 11:29 AM
Personally I think that rats are one of the coolest animals around because of the way they have learned to thrive off our wasteful and untidy existences.

Like pigeons, i like pigeons :D

Sunny
24-01--2006, 02:59 PM
I do hear what is being said on the pro- control side of this argument but still wonder cynically if this is just going to be the start of a programme of culling animals that are seen as unwanted. The general public may accept the idea of culling grey squirrels in favour of the "cuter" red ones. Many people see the grey squirrels as rat-like vermin anyway. Personally I think that rats are one of the coolest animals around because of the way they have learned to thrive off our wasteful and untidy existences. But there is already talk of re-commencing widespread badger culling because it has been tenuously linked to bovine TB. What next? Do foxes spread bird flu? Should we cull wild birds in case they present a threat? Culling just upsets the balance further, and causes more problems further down the line, IMO.

I know what you mean, and I do agree to a point. But personally I think that a lot of thought has been put into this over a loooong period of time - really people should have dealt with the problem before there were so many grey squirrels, or even before grey squirrels started to establish themseslves. But that's just my opinion :rolleyes: I suppose I don't really see it as 'favoring the cuter', I just see it as trying to readdress the natural balance in British countryside... I know that you've written that culling just upsets the balance further. I agree with you in many ways, but not in the case of this. Often culling is the man-made way of keeping a balance, where before a different predator would be doing so. It is just so complex, which is why people take years, and they have taken years, to come to a decision like this, to do something about the grey squirrel population.
Drastically changing the numbers in a poulation does affect everything down the line... But won't necessarily be causing a problem in the long run. This is why they've taken the decision really - the drastic increase in numbers of grey squirrels over the years has been the problem in this case. It has severely affected British nature.
Take trees for example. Grey squirrels strip bark in early spring time - they aren't searching for grubs and food etc, but for the phloem, which carries nutrients to other parts of the tree. So taking this away effectively strips the tree of its nutrients. Because this is often done at the base of the tree, it can often kill the whole tree. Not only that, but the trees most affected are native species such as oak and beech. This are really important to the conservation of other fauna and flora... Red squirrels don't strip bark to the same extent as grey squirrels, and don't do it to get to the phloem.

I agree with your thoughts on rats, they're admirable creatures to say the least!

I can understand what you said about the sorts of culling that do upset and distort the balance further too.. People often look for any excuse to point a finger at what they see as a pest. Your mention of badgers is a perfect example. Although you'll be glad to hear that most of the farmers i've met in Devon, think that the link between Bovine TB and badgers is a load of rubbish. :)

Sunny
xxx

Duckman
10-02--2006, 11:35 AM
Another example of why nature is a bastard. Australia has been one big disaster zone when it comes to biological pollution. It is a far bigger problem than say global warming is.

crap muppet
10-02--2006, 02:56 PM
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a great recipe for squirrel and bacon.

Squirrel legs are gorgeous if your a meat eater as well. The problem with this cull (Apart from the obvious massacre) is that as always, its going to be extremely wasteful. Think how many people could have squirrel for Sunday lunch if the corpses don't get left to rot...

Sunny
10-02--2006, 07:15 PM
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a great recipe for squirrel and bacon.

Squirrel legs are gorgeous if your a meat eater as well. The problem with this cull (Apart from the obvious massacre) is that as always, its going to be extremely wasteful. Think how many people could have squirrel for Sunday lunch if the corpses don't get left to rot...

I agree. I can't bear thinking about the waste involved in something like this :( . Tom (my boyfriend) has recently been talking about squirrel sunday lunch. I think it's quite good to be resourceful like this, although personally i'm not all that good at being a meat eater.

Duckman
11-02--2006, 01:46 AM
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a great recipe for squirrel and bacon.

Squirrel legs are gorgeous if your a meat eater as well. The problem with this cull (Apart from the obvious massacre) is that as always, its going to be extremely wasteful. Think how many people could have squirrel for Sunday lunch if the corpses don't get left to rot...

What about taking them to the knackers yard to be turned into blood & bone fertilizer?

ApodemusSylvaticus
29-05--2006, 01:14 PM
It is a conservation thing. Well and truly and no it shouldn't lead to pointless and silly excersizes. In any sort of biodiversity Action Plan, the biggest problem is the effects of non native introduced species and the often dramatic effects they have on what is a delicate eco system.

We have damamged it enough by taking out many key species so now it is down to us to right our wrongs and manage it to try and maintain some sort of balance.

Harsh as it seems, non native creatures like the Grey Squirrel and the Mink HAVE TO GO. There is even evidence to suggest that Muntjac have a detrimental efffect on Roe Deer and they cannot co inhabit territory......killing unfortunately is the most sensible option, and after all its what Nature does......

It is illegal to release any non native species into the countryside and it is also illegal to capture and then release any non native...so catching and birth controlling would be out of the question. As well as being ineficient.
You could catch and birth control a bunch of Mink if u wanted to be all fluffy about it. And then you'd release them and watch them strip a river of all it's wildlife value. (A breeding female can get to know every hole and every individual Water Vole on a stretch of river and systematically take every last one out)

So they wouldn't be able to breed?

Well the damage done in their lifetime would be terrible and unforgiveable and easily prevented by not releasing them after capture!

Same with squirrels. catch and sterilise say, 50 in a wood. Great. fantastic. Thats still loads of birds nests taken out. Loads of trees destroyed until they finally die.

If we are to redress the balance we have so terribly skewed, it has to be done in a way appropriate to the workings of Nature. And Nature NEVER works in fluffy bunny ways.