The Royal Parks are trapping and killing grey squirrels to protect ornamental trees

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Grey squirrel in Regents Park

The Royal Parks is a charity and they manage eight parks in London. They have decided that they need to trap and kill grey squirrels in order to stop damage to ornamental trees, horticultural displays and nesting birds. Natalia Doran runs a squirrel rescue centre from her home in Roehampton, West London with her son.

Grey squirrel in Regents Park one of the Royal Parks.
Grey squirrel in Regents Park one of the Royal Parks. Photo: Bertie Gregory/2020VISION / Rex Features

She disagrees vehemently with the policy of the Royal Parks. She says that the traps are totally inhumane. One reason is that lactating mothers who die in them leave behind babies who slowly starve to death. She and other campaigners staged a protest last month in Kensington Gardens. They plan to hold another in the coming weeks.

When I lived in a block of flats I remember the gardner trapping and killing grey squirrels. He said that they damaged trees. He stopped when there were objections. I used to play golf for a while at Roehampton Golf Club and the ground staff there also trapped grey squirrels. I questioned why they were doing it. I forget their answer but I totally disagreed with them. It seems very cruel to me.

It is inhumane, cruel and unnecessary to trap and kill grey squirrels. Yes, I know that the red squirrel is a rare sight in Britain because of the presence of grey squirrels from America but the policy of the Royal Parks is clearly wrong as far as I am concerned.

In defence they say that:

“It’s important to say we don’t take any of this lightly and our aim is to ensure that no animal endures prolonged suffering. We always aim to create the best environment for all our wildlife so that the many different species can coexist 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.”

Royal Parks’ statement

Comment

Well, their answer sounds very considered and well formulated but I still think they are completely wrong. And I agree wholeheartedly with Natalia. We don’t know how they are killing the squirrels. They should explain themselves if we are to believe that they are euthanised humanely. And we need evidence that grey squirrels are causing damage. Where is it?

I think they have an ulterior motive for the trapping and killing. It may be that park users have complained or they don’t like dogs chasing the squirrels. It will be something as idiotic as that, I suspect.