Squirrel meat eaten on live TV
TV presenter Richard Madeley put wildlife conservation in the spotlight this week after he ate a grey squirrel burger on air during Good Morning Britain as part of a debate on the idea of eating the invasive species. The burgers will be served by TV farmer and ST contributor Gareth Wyn Jones in his popup restaurant at the GWCT Welsh Game Fair in Bangor on 9 and 10 September.
After Gareth launched an appeal on social media to help him source grey squirrels, the move prompted a national debate on why non-native greys need to culled.
“Grey squirrels are not native to this country,” he explained, adding: “They were introduced from America and they have led to the decline of our own red squirrel population. Squirrel meat is like any other wild food, eating them is like foraging for anything else.”
The total UK population for red squirrels is now thought to be as low as 120,000 animals, of which more than three-quarters are found in Scotland. There are approximately 2.7 million grey squirrels, many of which carry the squirrelpox virus, which is not harmful to them but deadly to reds.
This story first appeared in Shooting Times, Britain’s oldest and best-selling shooting magazine. Published every Wednesday, the 141-year-old title has long been at the coalface of the countryside, breaking the stories that matter to you. Subscribe here.