Grey squirrels in the firing line

Some 68% of the British public believes grey-squirrel numbers should be controlled in order to protect the native red, as a recent survey commissioned by the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI) reveals. About 65% were in favour of grey squirrels being removed altogether, if non-lethal methods could be used.

The survey also showed that 74.7% of those questioned between the ages of 16 and 24 support grey control. ‘These are remarkable figures,’ says Miles Barne, chairman of the ESI. ‘There is now a real demand among the public to control the grey squirrel.

The survey also puts into stark relief Natural England’s decision to grant licences, allowing captured non-native greys back into the wild. As a Government agency whose mission statement is to “conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscape and wildlife in rural, urban and coastal marine areas”, these releases set a dangerous precedent and cause unnecessary alarm.’