Last year a squirrel attacked an anti-squirrel politician. Last week the Wildlife Trust appealed to 5,000 volunteers to feel free to kill grey squirrels to save the red ones native to the UK.
Gentlemen, it would seem we are in the midst of a squirrel epidemic, and Prince Charles is having none of it.
In a meeting with the UK Squirrel Accord (read: squirrel illuminati), that Prince Charles set up three years ago, he approved a government backed plan to spike Nutella with squirrel contraception to halt the grey species’ rapid population growth.
Apparently squirrels, like every other living being on planet Earth, love Nutella. The idea is to lure grey squirrels into pushing a trap door open that will then release the hazelnut spread laced with GonaCon (a vaccine which suppresses the hormones necessary for reproduction).
Presumably they will then be let free rather than having to grow accustomed to SSS (Sad Squirrel Syndrome), sterile, sitting in a box.
According to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), red squirrels, voles and mice are too small to push open the doors, meaning the GonaCon should only be reached by the greys. The agency expects the traps to reduce the grey population by up to 90%.
The APHA has already secured £39,000 to develop the trap and would require a further £1 million for a five-year programme to test the method and get it licensed by the European Medicines Agency.
Grey squirrels are native to North America, but turned up in the UK’s ecosystem in the 1870s. Since then, it would seem the population has grown to invasion levels, threatening the existence of Britain’s native red squirrels by eating their food and colonising their habitat.
They are also a carrier for a pox virus that they’re immune to but is fatal to red squirrels.
Speaking on the new method, Lord Charles Kinnoull, the chairman of the Squirrel Accord said: “It is the most exciting prospect I have seen for controlling greys.
“I don’t harbour a great extermination instinct but I am interested in protecting our broadleaf trees and there being red squirrels around for my children to see.
“In order to do that we have to reduce the grey population very substantially and this will be a very important weapon in the armoury.”
Let the battle commence.