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Family planning for Grey Squirrels?

Plans have been announced in the UK to give non-native grey squirrels contraceptives. The hope is that it will reduce the grey squirrel population allowing native red squirrels to return to areas they have been driven out of. The economic argument is an interesting one about how we value nature, a topic we'll return to.


I used to work for the Saving Scotland's Red Squirrel project, surveying locations across Scotland. There is nothing more charming I

think than seeing red squirrels early in the morning high in the trees. They are much more agile and timid than the Greys generally.

While projects to get rid of non-native plants which out compete natives are generally welcomed (e.g. Japanese Knotweed, Giant hogweed). Plans involving animals such as the grey squirrel can be emotive as people do get attached to seeing them in parks, gardens and other spaces. Ultimately everything migrates, but humans have sped up this natural process and caused many native species to go extinct. The red squirrel is still common in mainland Europe though. So should we try to eradicate the grey squirrels from the UK?

What are your thoughts?

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