British squirrels on the pill

UK squirrel agreement

NOS . News

British gray squirrels will soon be on birth control. Ecologists prepare field tests to sterilize invasive animals with nut paste in forage houses.

Gray squirrels were introduced to Britain from the United States in the 19th century by landowners who found these wonderful creatures in their gardens. However, it has been shown to be particularly harmful to the environment.

For example, they are larger and stronger than the original red squirrel, so this variant is expelled. Moreover, grays transmit diseases to which they themselves are immune. There are now ten times as many gray squirrels than red squirrels: about 3 million versus less than 300,000.

In addition, they cause forest damage because these squirrels pick up the bark of young trees to access the nutritious tree sap. New growth often does not survive this. Animals cause about 45 million euros in damages each year.

private door

Attempts have been made in the past to shoot the animals, but apart from the suffering of the animals, this is ineffective and expensive, at €70 per squirrel. That’s why Squirrel Alert UK is working on a contraceptive plan.

By serving food at feeding points with substances that disrupt the animals’ hormones, they can become sterile. Researchers have now developed a method that protects the red squirrel: doors that can only be opened to the heavy gray species, but remain closed to the protected red species.

bad taste

Since squirrels break the contraceptives in their bodies, there is no chance that hunters (animals or humans) will become sterile if they eat squirrels. To avoid misunderstanding completely, it is assumed that warnings are placed at feeding points and that the pasta itself tastes bad to people.

Environment Minister Binion talks about a promising study. “It could humanely help eradicate the gray squirrel here and help recover our beloved red squirrel.” Additionally, he adds, protecting trees helps fight climate change.

So Squirrel Alert UK wants to set up a fully qualified pilot soon. It should then be possible to roll out a nationwide animal contraceptive program within two years.

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