Demands to cull grey squirrels plain nuts

I WAS concerned to read Clark Cross' letter (November 11) that demonised grey squirrels as "rats". This could encourage indiscriminate attacks on these small mammals by thoughtless, uncaring individuals.

The current "control" of grey squirrels is no more than killing for ethnic cleansing purposes, where questionable conservationists are exterminating members of species they abhor because of origin or abundance.

Similar acts of violence are being perpetrated countrywide against numerous other species such as deer, hedgehogs and rare black rats. Even plants are targeted if they are not "native".

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But a factor in the decline of the red squirrel population could well lie at the door of tree planting conservationists who have been undermining the reds' habitat by destroying mixed conifer woodlands in favour of planting native saplings.

There are areas where red and grey squirrels have co-existed for more than 30 years because there has been sufficient conifers to enable red squirrels to survive with a grey squirrel population.

While the American grey is undoubtedly an introduction to this country, I understand that much of today's population of reds is not really descended from indigenous animals but was introduced when the species was almost extinct at a time when greys had little or no impact on the red's population.

Killing members of one species to promote members of another is not conservation - it's a form of fascism that should not be acceptable or tolerated in a caring society.

Angus Macmillan, Meikle Boturich, near Balloch

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