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Squirrel cull in parks is nuts, says animal campaign group

Traps laid down to catch grey squirrels in two parks

03 October, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Grey squirrels to be culled. Photo credit: Chris Sutton

WATCH out Nutkins, a new cull of squirrels has been launched in two of Camden’s picturesque parks.

Traps have been laid down “out of view of the public” in both Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill to catch grey squirrels that park chiefs insist must be controlled to protect “delicate ecosystems”.

The killings have been ordered specifically to stop damage to “ornamental trees”, “horticultural displays” and “nesting birds”, according to the Royal Parks, which insists “no animal endures prolonged suffering” and the “most humane traps possible” are used.

But Natalia Doran, founder of Urban Squirrels, a grey squirrel rescue group, said: “Nature does balance itself out, we need to stop trying to police other species and concentrate on our own impact on the ecosystem. “But if someone is that determined to ‘manage the habitat’, they should at least confine their activity to non-lethal fertility control, which is actually very effective.”

Pictures of trapped squirrels posted online triggered a protest on Tuesday by the animal rights group.

Animal rights protesters 

A Freedom of Information request by the campaign group Animal Aid into the “Royal slaughter” found that between January 2013 and January 2017, a total of 8,400 wild mammals and 3,240 birds have been intentionally killed in Royal Parks – including 82 “mammals” in Regent’s Park.

A Royal Parks statement said: “We always aim to create the best environment for all our wildlife, so that the many different species can co-exist and thrive in the parks’ delicate ecosystems. Sometimes, where there is absolutely no alternative, this involves humanely controlling small numbers of certain animals as a last resort.”

It added: “Without the careful population control of grey squirrels, other species across the parks would fail to thrive or could disappear altogether, major damage would be caused to native and ornamental trees, nesting birds would be disrupted, and plants and bulbs would be dug up and damaged, impacting the quality of our horticultural displays.

“It’s important to say that we don’t take any of this lightly and our aim is to ensure that no animal endures prolonged suffering.”

Earlier this year, a chef drew headlines after putting grey squirrel on his menu. Ivan Tisdall-Downes served up squirrel lasagne at his Native restaurant in Borough.

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