Save Red Squirrels From Eradication

Target: George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom

Goal: Promote conservation of forests that can boost red squirrel populations.

Native red squirrels vs. non-native grey squirrels: this supposed “battle” for supremacy has been set up in the United Kingdom (UK) ever since grey squirrels were introduced to the lands, quite against their own will. Humans, who created this problem, have since turned it into a death match in which eradication of grey squirrels by any means necessary is the ultimate aim. A new study, however, is offering a hopeful mediation effort that may ultimately save both species in Scotland and beyond.

Much of the concern stems from red squirrels being squeezed out of their habitats by their invasive grey cousins. Culling, birth control initiatives, and the release of certain predators are popular proposed methods for reducing grey squirrel populations. A more recent effort in Scotland could spell trouble not only for the squirrels but for other wildlife species as well. This campaign would seek to take broadleaf trees like oaks out of forests because these trees are favored homes for grey squirrels. Yet other animals rely on these trees for meeting their basic needs too. These animals would likewise suffer, and cutting down plant diversity is rarely a good idea for maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Red squirrels, on the other hand, tend to be much more adept at surviving and even thriving in different plant environments. A years-long research study recently revealed about 20 forests and plantations in Scotland alone where red squirrels could build their numbers even if grey squirrels increased in population exponentially. Maintaining, preserving, and directing conservation plans toward these areas could not only save red squirrels but allow them to co-exist peacefully with grey squirrels.

Sign the petition below to back a promising alternative that may save all squirrels.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Eustice,

Oral contraceptives, pine martens, gene editing, killing: all of these efforts are being put toward saving one wildlife species at the expense of another species. Pitting grey squirrels (in the UK through no fault of their own) against red squirrels is a false dichotomy and a misleading narrative. Research from Scottish scientists has shown that the choice does not have to be salvation for one group and eradication for the other unfortunate group of animals. With commitment and effort, both populations can survive and thrive.

This research, presented in Nature Conservation, identifies 20 strongholds in Scotland that can support red squirrels regardless of grey squirrel activity. Investing in these regions and pulling back from inhumane culling would represent a true and comprehensive conservation effort that fully accounts for the wonderful diversity found in nature…diversity that would be lost by removing, as proposed, certain types of trees from forest habitats. The potential for such strongholds in other parts of the UK could be discovered as well with the right focus and dedication.

Please make these investments and stop equating conservation with death and destruction.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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3 Comments

  1. Humans truly are the STUPIDEST things ever created. Maybe it’s time for most of them to be eradicated. Oh wait, they WILL be, because there’s no fixing “stupid”! ‘Nuf said.

  2. Denise Alvarado says:

    Too bad we’re taking so many species down with us.

  3. Lori Smith says:

    We should never have introduced gray squirrels to begin with. Ugh, you would think by now we’d know to leave well enough alone. Even if we put the red squirrels in this other habitat to live and increase in numbers…well, eventually squirrels will be squirrels! The gray squirrels will, in time, move to that new red squirrel forest and squeeze them out there too. Sounds like we created this problem! If anything eradicate the gray squirrels! Native animals should take precedent over human introduced ones (including livestock)!!!

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