Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Protecting the Grey Squirrels in the UK

I have come across a website dedicated to opposing the culling of grey squirrels in Great Britain. SOG (Save Our Greys) is looking for members who believe, like the founders Emily and Evie, that the persecution of grey squirrels is not the right approach to restoring the Eurasian red squirrel to its former numbers in the UK.

And I also want to mention again Professor Acorn's We're As Native As You, another very informative site dedicated to opposing the British grey squirrel cull.

Both of these sites argue, correctly, that the belief that the grey squirrel is the primary cause of the drop in red squirrel numbers in the UK is a myth. The decline of the red squirrel has been brought about by number of factors, most importantly urban development and habitat loss. Squirrel pox has exacerbated the decline, but the argument that this disease is spread by grey squirrels is shaky at best.

Those who think the mass killing of grey squirrels will bring back their beloved reds throughout Britain are sadly and tragically mistaken. As SOG suggests on their site, energy should be focused on development of a vaccine for squirrel pox. Conserving and restoring the habitat most ideal for the red squirrel--coniferous forests--where they remain, would also help to protect remaining red squirrel populations, especially in Scotland.

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