Bird traps used under general licence capture and kill corvids and gulls. Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) Schedule 9 – makes it illegal to release, or to allow to escape, to the wild any captive grey squirrel. You may have seen the bad press a Facebook group, ‘Grey Squirrel Hunters UK’, received in the national press a while back. Grey squirrel law scrapped: Ministers finally revoke 1937 legislation that made failure to report presence of rodent on your land a criminal offence. Too often, when an animal is referred to as a pest or an invasive species, any concerns for their welfare go out the window. You’ve accepted all cookies. They are now regarded as a … This means that it is illegal to release a grey squirrel into the wild, or allow one to escape, even if it was taken into captivity for welfare reasons. Squirrels can be found almost everywhere in the UK, though whether they are red or grey depends on the area. But that cost also includes money spent on controlling grey squirrels, and there is no link between how much is spent on controlling their numbers and reducing damage to trees. To allow for this period of consultation, keeping and release licences issued by Natural England will be extended until the Order comes into force in October 2019. They are due to come into force the day before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. They have been blamed for the decline in Britain’s red squirrel population . Research continues to develop a squirrel pox vaccine that would inoculate red squirrels against the disease that greys carry. We use cookies to collect information about how you use GOV.UK. I would recommend alternative methods to limit grey squirrels, and to encourage natural processes that can set a new ecological balance. In 1932, it was made illegal to release a grey squirrel in Britain. It’s an offence to keep or release some wild animals, for example grey squirrels - you must kill them humanely if you catch them alive. Stoats and weasels can be killed in snap traps. Greys compete with reds for food and also carry a virus known as squirrelpox. There is no requirement on vets to euthanise any injured or healthy squirrels that are brought into rescue centres. Here in Britain and Europe, is classed as an Invasive Alien Species (IAS) which is any animal that is not native to the UK. Ministers have admitted defeat in their battle against grey squirrels, and will scrap a law to protect their red cousins. Tree-climbing nut buriers, scampering grey squirrels are a familiar sight. But the point of rescue centres isn’t principally conservation, it’s about animal welfare and well-being. They are due to come into force the day before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Edinburgh Napier University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK. Licences to permit the release of grey squirrels for specific purposes can be issued by government departments. They do, and so do red squirrels. A moderated rimfire. The total mass of pheasants released annually exceeds that of the entire breeding population of native birds. Category. This means that wildlife rescue centres in England which previously took in, rehabilitated and released wild grey squirrels, will instead have to kill them, on both practical and ethical grounds. Snares can be legally used to kill foxes and dogs can be legally used to flush foxes out of cover to be shot. Get advice Get professional advice if you do not know: It’s often argued that killing grey squirrels is justified as they predate bird nests. Considerable progress has been made and … The best way of culling grey squirrels. Under Schedule 9 of the WCA, it is illegal to release a grey squirrel into the wild, or allow one to escape, without a license granted by Natural England. Grey squirrels and muntjac may face euthanasia under new EU law. Legal status of the grey squirrel The grey squirrel is included in Schedule 9 of the WCA and the W(NI) Order. Bruce MacQueen/Shutterstock. A red squirrel coat colour can vary from the classic rusty red to much darker colours like grey and black. However, they carried the squirrel … They’re also significant predators of native adders, a species of major conservation concern, and the extremely rare sand lizard. Where grey squirrels live. After you are familiar with the signs they leave behind, it’s time to learn the most effective methods to get rid of squirrels quickly and according to the law. Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details. On an even greater scale, the game bird industry releases millions of non-native birds – 35 million pheasants and six-and-a-half million red-legged partridges – into the British countryside each year, to be shot for sport. The introduction of grey squirrels has had a disastrous impact on the UK’s only native squirrel species, the red squirrel. Don’t worry we won’t send you spam or share your email address with anyone. In the meantime, my advice to the public is to leave injured or orphaned grey squirrels be. All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, EU Regulation (1143/2014) on invasive alien (non-native) species, Coastal access in Cornwall: plan of the St Mawes to Cremyll stretch, England Coast Path from Highcliffe to Calshot: comment on proposals, Coastal access in Cornwall from St Mawes to Cremyll: comment on proposals, Common land: transfer of a right of common in gross (CA6), Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support, Transparency and freedom of information releases. The Grey Squirrel action plan is published online. There is no requirement for vets to euthanise injured or healthy squirrels as a result of this order. Grey squirrels are on the first Species of Union Concern list, which came into force on 3 August 2016. Grey squirrels have rapidly spread since they were introduced into this country 150 years ago, displacing the native red squirrel. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises dispatching the squirrel by shooting or by a swift blow to the head. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is also currently an offence to release grey squirrels without a licence. Pheasants also cause around a million road accidents each year. Indeed the law (sort of) encourages it. In the autumn they spend time storing nuts to eat during the winter. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is also currently an offence to release grey squirrels without a licence. 20 December 2019, 3:50 am. Many of the UK’s native predators are killed to maximise the density of game birds for hunters to shoot. The eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), also known as the grey squirrel depending on region, is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus.It is native to eastern North America, where it is the most prodigious and ecologically essential natural forest regenerator. To help us improve GOV.UK, we’d like to know more about your visit today. You must also secure any drainage channels to prevent escape. These alternatives to trapping and shooting include developing oral contraceptives to prevent grey squirrels reproducing and managing woodlands to benefit reds over greys, by planting more conifer trees and allowing pine martens to return. There’s evidence that pheasants affect local plant communities by increasing the area of bare ground and changing the soil chemistry. As such, the grey squirrel is regarded as a pest species and is afforded no protection under the WCA. It is legal to kill grey squirrels and most people do it by trapping and shooting. Grey squirrels are vulnerable because they were introduced to the UK in the 1800s from North America. Grey squirrels have limited legal protection and can be controlled all year round by a variety of methods including shooting and trapping. Why is it acceptable for animal shelters to rescue an invasive alien species, the domestic cat, and for the public to allow them to roam free, but unacceptable for wildlife rescue centres to help and release a few grey squirrels? A plan to tighten rules around releasing invasive non-native animals which threaten our native wildlife will come into effect in October 2019, the Government today (1 March) confirmed. The UK will continue to uphold international obligations as an EU member state and also as a responsible partner nation working closely with other countries to protect our native wildlife and forestry landscapes for future generations to enjoy. There are also glaring contradictions in what is considered invasive and what needs to be controlled. You must not let it go as this act would be illegal. They mostly live in broadleaf woodlands containing oak, beech, sweet chestnut and hazel but will also be found in a wide range of habitats such as parks, gardens and urban areas where there are suitable trees. Mammals; Statistics Length: 24-28.5cm Tail: 19.5-24cm Weight: 400-650g Average lifespan: 2-5 years. Advice Note – Red Squirrels and the Law 2004 by UK Red Squirrel Group. According to the British Red Squirrel charity, it is estimated that grey squirrel bark stripping damage costs the UK timber industry some £14million every year. Because grey squirrels are an invasive pest species, it is against the law to re-release a grey squirrel if it’s been caught alive, per the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019. The environmental impact of releasing a handful of grey squirrels – particularly in areas where red squirrels are absent – is likely negligible. Fertility Control (Immunocontraception) Fertility Control could provide a number of benefits because it is a non-lethal, humane and publicly acceptable method of grey control. Originally introduced from North America, grey squirrels are now common in England, Wales and central Scotland. Law: Under the Pest Act 1954 Section 8 and the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 1972 Article 21, it is an offence, in respect of any animal, to use or permit the use of: * an unapproved spring trap (e.g. As the law stands it is perfectly legal to kill grey squirrels as long it is done in a humane manner; the Wildlife Act 2006 states that it is against the law to cause any unnecessary suffering to an animal under your care. 1 comment. Domestic cats are hunting many species of wildlife to extinction. But just about everybody accepts the impossibility of eradicating grey squirrels. We use this information to make the website work as well as possible and improve government services. The UK’s only viable populations of red squirrels are in places where greys are rare or absent. In defence of the grey squirrel, Britain's most unpopular invader. The campaign against grey squirrels is justified by the UK government, which insists that grey squirrels threaten native wildlife and harm the economy. Hundreds of people face prosecution for killing pests in their back garden after a landmark legal ruling that saw a man fined more than £1,500 for killing a squirrel. Grey squirrels were imported from America to the UK in the 19th century, when they were seen as a fashionable addition to estates. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO LAWFULLY AND HUMANELY SHOOT OR TRAP IN ORDER TO CONTROL GREY SQUIRRELS KILL TRAPS MUST NOT BE USED IF THERE IS ANY CHANCE OF REDS SQUIRRELS BEING IN THE AREA Red squirrels have been protected against intentional acts of damage or disturbance since 1981 under the UK Wildlife & Countryside Act (WACA), Schedule 5. The Government has confirmed the implementation date of the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019. Find out everything you need to know about these American imports from what they eat to where they live. The cost to UK forestry is estimated to be £10 million per year, including damage to timber caused by the grey squirrel’s habit of stripping bark from trees. It provides an easy encounter with wildlife for many people, but can be damaging to woodlands and has contributed to the decline of the red squirrel. Rescued grey squirrels to be killed under new law – but Britain's 'invasive' problem runs much deeper. 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