Paul Childerley is after squirrels. They are chewing up the water pipes in his pheasant pens, and this is the time of year they greys tuck into songbird nests, eating eggs and chicks. He is out with fellow gamekeeper Scott, to deal with the animals and their dreys in woodland on his shoot. It's the latest in his Modern Gamekeeper series
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This item appears on YouTube in Fieldsports Britain, episode 486 http://bit.ly/fieldsportsbritain486
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Why shoot grey squirrels?
Grey squirrels are invasive pests, not native to the UK. They impact on our native wildlife, raiding nests to prey on eggs and fledglings, and they are responsible for the decline in native red squirrel numbers, likely because they carry but are immune to the parapox virus, which is fatal to red squirrels . The Wildlife Trusts estimate there are only around 140,000 native red squirrels left in the UK, compared to 2.5 million grey squirrels.
Grey squirrels cause damage to trees such as beech, oak, sycamore and chestnut. They strip bark at the base of trees which causes them to weaken and eventually to die. The UK Forestry Commission estimates grey squirrels causes £6-10 million damage to British forestry per year.
Grey squirrels have been known to damage houses and buildings by chewing on woodwork, insulation and electrical wires. They can also contaminate cold water tanks with urine and droppings. It has been illegal to keep grey squirrels (without a licence) since 1937, and it is illegal to release them into the wild.
Grey squirrels’ predators include stoats, goshawks and foxes, leaving gamekeepers, foresters and airgunners to do the main job of eradicating them. A coalition of airgunners across Anglesey successfully removed grey squirrels from the island. Other groups in Cumbria and Cornwall aim to do the same, with support from the government and private enterprise.