The Government is under increasing pressure to take action to save the UK’s red squirrel from extinction.

A new survey commissioned by the Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST) shows overwhelming public support for its campaign to protect the red squirrel from extinction. In a survey of 1,001 people around the UK, 86 per cent stated that they wanted the native red squirrel to be saved, 88 per cent would like to see reds back in their parks and gardens, and 70 per cent believed that the Government should be more proactive.

The RSST’s Joshua Perry told Shooting Times: “We believe that the Government should play a more active role in red squirrel conservation and, by implication, in grey squirrel control. Over the past few years the British public has become increasingly aware of the threat to the survival of our native reds and we are delighted to see from this survey that the vast majority of people in the UK understand the importance of saving this species.”

So could this mean the return of the controversial £1-per-grey-squirrel bounty scheme, which was introduced on Anglesey in North Wales in 1999 in an attempt to reduce their numbers? Mr Perry said: “We are cautious about a bounty scheme. We have had supporters who have run local bounty schemes, but these schemes have been open to abuse. While there is the potential for a bounty scheme to play a role, we think that right now it is more important to focus on encouraging volunteers to get involved in trapping greys and reporting red and grey sightings.”

The rest of this article appears in 7 May issue of Shooting Times.

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