There is now an online petition on Change.org asking the Scottish Wildlife Trust to halt the culling of gray squirrels in Scotland. I hope that you will sign this petition. I also hope that you will read the text under "Why This Is Important" before signing. I'll summarize some of the key points as to why culling is not a solution:
- Reducing the numbers of a species (in this case, gray squirrels) by culling improves the availability of resources, which will cause the numbers of that species to rebound very quickly through more successful breeding.
- Also, neighboring populations from outside the cull area will move in to replace the population that is lost through killing. The increase in mobility through this process could actually increase the spread of squirrel pox virus which has been so devastating to red squirrels.
- For the reasons above, culling can actually, in a fairly short time, actually increase the population density of the culled species and make the situation even worse, for both the reds and grays, through overpopulation.
The gray squirrel is now found throughout most of Great Britain. Culling in Scotland is a short-term approach that can not resolve this situation. There is no way that a regional cull can eliminate gray squirrels because as soon as the killing stops in any local area, the population of grays will rebound and probably even increase.
In my opinion, culling of gray squirrels is nothing but pointless cruelty. Baby squirrels will be left to die in their dreys when their mothers are killed. Countless squirrels will be trapped and shot or drowned, with no real long-term benefit to the red squirrel population.
The decline of the red squirrel in Great Britain is tragic, but culling of gray squirrels is not a solution. Such a cruel and ineffective measure will only increase the tragedy. Please take action and sign the petition.