Forest Gate campaigner calls for halt to grey squirrel cull
- Credit: Archant
A wildlife campaigner has called for a grey squirrel cull to stop following a protest outside Kensington Palace.
Mary Wheatley from Forest Gate joined 15 people calling on The Royal Parks, which manages eight of the capital's green spaces, not to trap and kill the squirrels.
The protesters took action after pictures emerged on social media showing trapped and dying creatures.
Mary said: "We live in a very green city and squirrels are part of that. I feel very strongly about preserving wildlife in Newham and London. It enriches our environment.
"What is the problem? We're not overrun with squirrels."
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Natalia Doran, founder of Urban Squirrels, which rescues greys, said: "The Royal Parks should join us in the 21st century and consider process-led conservation.
"We need to stop trying to police other species and concentrate on our own impact on the ecosystem.
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"But if someone is that determined to 'manage the habitat', they should at least confine their activity to non-lethal fertility control, which is actually very effective."
A spokeswoman for The Royal Parks said: "It's important to say we don't take any of this lightly. Our aim is to ensure no animal endures prolonged suffering."
She added that The Royal Parks use the "most humane" traps possible with teams fully trained in animal welfare and operating to the highest possible standards.
"All traps are out of public view and are regularly checked. It is only through this effective management that we are able to create the best environment for all our wildlife and maintain the ecological diversity in our parks, which is so important and at the very heart of our work.
"Sometimes, where there is absolutely no alternative, this involves humanely controlling small numbers of certain animals as a last resort."
She added that without careful grey squirrel population control, other species would fail to thrive or disappear while major damage would be caused to trees, nesting birds disrupted and plants and bulbs damaged.
"Unfortunately, the more park visitors feed squirrels, the more their numbers will increase if their population is not controlled," she said.
Mary, 52, said: "We should all care about the way the environment is being treated. We're squeezing species on this planet."