Let Nature Do Its Own Work

La Paz Group

The Pine Marten, once common in the UK, is a natural predator of the grey squirrel and has successfully reduced their numbers in Ireland. Photograph: Alamy The Pine Marten, once common in the UK, is a natural predator of the grey squirrel and has successfully reduced their numbers in Ireland. Photograph: Alamy

Not every problem in the natural world has a solution, let alone a simple one; and there is always that law of unintended consequences, but we like the way this proposal sounds as an alternative to other forms of eradication:

Is there anything more stupid than the government’s plan to kill grey squirrels?

I ask not because I believe – as Animal Aid does – that grey squirrels are harmless. Far from it: they have eliminated red squirrels from most of Britain since their introduction by Victorian landowners, and are now doing the same thing in parts of the continent. By destroying young trees, they also make the establishment of new woodland almost impossible in many places. As someone who believes there should be…

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