Go forth, men of honor:
LONDON (AFP) – They may be cute and cuddly but that won’t be enough to save grey squirrels in northern Scotland after the launch on Monday of Britain?s largest ever culling campaign of a mammal.
Naturalists and landowners are joining forces to rid northern Scotland of the squirrels, arguing they carry a deadly pox virus and threaten the smaller native red squirrel.
Scotland is one of the few safe havens left for the red squirrel whose numbers have been in slow decline throughout Britain since the arrival of its stronger, disease-carrying cousin from North America in the 1870s.
“The red squirrel is the UK’s only native squirrel but it is in danger of becoming extinct on mainland Scotland if action is not taken to protect it,” said Mel Tonkin, manager of the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels campaign.
“Our project aims to stop the decline of Scotland’s red squirrels and help them expand across the country in the future, but we have a huge task ahead of us.”
Estimates put the number of red squirrels in Scotland at around 120,000 and the number of greys at between 200,000 and 300,000.