That is a big drey. Are the greys listed as “pests” like here in the UK? Unfairly, in my opinion, some land owners have the dreys peppered with shot but tey still thrive in verty large numbers.They do indeed damage trees by eating the bark, although most affected trees survive.
Sorry if I mentioned this before but here the now endangered and pretty native red squirrell is regarded with affection and it is universally regretted that when they come into contact with the imported greys they catch squirrel pox from them, this being harmless to the greys themselves, I believe. This has resulted in the British red population being almost decimated and driven to the margins of the kingdom, but it is too late to simply hate the grey species on that account; rather the grey than no squirrels at all, imo. Over a hundred and fifty years ago, paradoxically, the red was regarded as a pest, especially in Scotland, when there were no greys around to take the blame, but now they are seen as an endangered treasure and efforts are being made to protect the remaining reds. The British race of reds is slightly different in appearance from those on the mainland. Of course the reds live in very large numbers on mainland eurasia, so overall they are safe. The two species belong to the same genus but have never been known to interbreed, I understand, despite the faux picture of a ‘hybrid’ when retrieverman was in a humorous mood back in the day..
We exported tobacco and infected grey squirrels? Which has caused the worst damage? Sorry.
But I agree, there is no use hankering for bygone eras and things which wll never be again. I’m sure the Greys can be as beloved as the Reds, or hated as wholehearted as the Reds were – as you pointed out.
That is true of other wildlife too. The California State flag has a grizzly bear on it, but there are no grizzly bears in California. It is said that the California Grizzly bear subspecies was bold, brave, aggressive, and numerous to such an extent that few native tribes thrived there. But then rifles arrived and the fearless bears never learned to retreat, and so now the flag is a sign of what was, and what most people are happier to not have in their backyard anyway.
Yes you have me there, it’s a no brainer; rather the squirrels than the baccy if it has to be a choice. Also we can at least eat the signal crayfish in compensation for having our smaller native white clawed species progressively killed off by them. “Over sexed, over sized and over here”!
Incidentally and coincidentally, retrieverman, the first and only grey squirrels brought into England were just a few individuals shipped in on a single vessel by a former duke of Bedford onto his estate situated a few miles from here back in the nineteenth century. Now you can hardly find a woodland in the southern half of the country which does not have them in substantial numbers.
Our dwindling populations of reds live today mainly on offshore islands such as the Isle of Wight and Brownsea Island in the south and Scotland to the north. But it isn’t all the fault of American mammals; muntjac deer from asia are proving almost as successful, breeding all year round and eating up a high proportion of England’s unprotected saplings for breakfast. That’s life!