Yesterday, for the second time in a few months, we saw a segment on a Sunday morning show that amounted to an indictment of the invasive eastern grey squirrel for declining numbers of red squirrels in the UK.
When we looked up red squirrels on Wikipedia -- this is what we found:
The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a species of tree squirrel (genus Sciurus). The red squirrel is a tree-dwelling omnivorous rodent that is common throughout Eurasia. In Britain, however, numbers have decreased drastically, in part due to the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from North America.
And further under grey squirrels:
In the United Kingdom, the animal is known simply as the grey squirrel and it has few natural predators. This has aided their rapid population growth and has led to the species being classed as a pest. Measures are being devised to reduce their numbers, including one plan for famous television chefs to promote the idea of eating grey squirrels. In areas where relict populations of red squirrels survive, such as the island of Anglesey, programmes seeking to eradicate grey squirrels are in progress in an effort to allow red squirrel populations to recover.
Although complex and controversial, the main factor in the displacement of red squirrels by greys is thought to be the greys' greater fitness and, hence, a competitive advantage over red squirrels on all measures. Grey squirrels tend to be larger and stronger than reds and have been shown to have a greater ability to store fat for winter. These factors are thought to result in grey squirrels competing effectively for a larger share of the available food, resulting in relatively lower survival and breeding rates among red squirrels.
Since many of our pals live in the UK, we started wondering if they had any special insights into the alleged Squirrel War. And of course, like good fox terriers -- or any terriers for that matter -- or any dawg for that matter -- we wondered if there was anything we could do about it.
We saw hunters shooting grey squirrels -- and we wondered if that was the best way to solve the problem, when there is an equal-opportunity army of dogs ready, eager, and able to chase those furry-tailed creatures.
Jackson, Eric, any other dog, what's up? Enlighten us, please. Do we need to book a trip across the pond?
Jake and Just Harry