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#1 Tue 30 Dec 08 11:15pm

abdullahcohn

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From My House
Member since Fri 11 Nov 05

Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

But Mr Parker conserves by killing.

An article from BBC News 15 April 2008 UK

His chosen prey is the North American Grey Squirrel. The animals are first trapped and then despatched.

His Northumberland-based organisation, the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership, say they have culled more than 15,000 squirrels in little over a year. That works out as approximately 200 squirrels a week.

So why does he do it? Mr Parker is clear: "They are carrying squirrel pox which kills the reds. They also hammer the bird population, they kill the chicks to get into nest boxes and they eat eggs.

"We are going to end up losing all our reds within 10 years if we don't take these out of the equation."

I joined Mr Parker on an ordinary day of squirrel hunting.

A government grant of 150,000 pays for his services and his traps.

Dozens of hazelnut-stuffed metal cages are placed in gardens and woodlands across the county. Homeowners provide Mr Parker with squirrel intelligence.

Once they see the animal trapped, they either call or text him. He then administers the fatal blow.

"I only use a rifle, it's the best way, it's the quickest way. There is a little spot on the back of the head. If you hit it, in one shot, it is dead."

Kill cage

A text alerts Mr Parker to a trapped grey in a suburban garden on the outskirts of Newcastle.

When we arrive, the trapper takes with him his kill cage.

It will be used to transfer the squirrel so that it can be culled away from the house.

When we get to the squirrel, it is scurrying about trying to escape. It is transferred and a few minutes later in a nearby woodland it is shot.

It's estimated the North of England is home to 80% of the country's native red squirrels.

Red squirrel
Red squirrels are believed to number between 20,000 and 30,000

But their numbers are low - thought to be between 20,000 and 30,000.

Compare that to the three to five million greys believed to be in the UK. But not everyone is convinced that a mass cull is the best way to redress this imbalance.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals said: "The RSPCA believes that control must not be interpreted solely as lethal control, and urges the investigation of alternative measures to reduce the impact of grey squirrels on reds, whilst ensuring both reds and greys do not suffer.



"We support a more measured approach. Eradicating long-established entire populations of greys, as well as being ethically questionable, would be very difficult and cause unnecessary suffering."

This is an argument which is dismissed by the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership. They believe quick action is needed.

But you may wonder what is done with all these dead squirrels.



Delicacy?

A game shop in Corbridge is our next stop.

The last two grey squirrel loins are on sale in the window. The furry creatures have become the latest game delicacy.

David Ridley has been selling squirrel for several weeks now.

He told me: "We sell quite a lot on the market and to local restaurants. The shop manages to sell quite a bit."

I leave Paul Parker to continue his controversial culling.

His ambition is to take his skills south and eventually clear the last grey squirrel out of London's Hyde Park. With millions of squirrels along the way, that is unlikely to be realised.

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#2 Tue 30 Dec 08 11:16pm

abdullahcohn

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Member since Fri 11 Nov 05

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

Any recipes?

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#3 Wed 31 Dec 08 1:07pm

whitedog

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Occupation striving to be a better human
From america
Member since Sat 09 Feb 08

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

squirrel aparteid, genocide. Crazy people. Don't red squirrels eat birds eggs, too? Sounds like somebody just likes to do things in and needs an excuse. Yuck.

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#4 Wed 31 Dec 08 1:15pm

GeoffP

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Occupation Retired Clergy & Computer Consultant
From Bradford, West Yorks
Member since Mon 03 Jul 06

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

Whitedog - the red squirrel is native to England, but has been almost wiped out by its bigger, bullying American cousin - the Grey Squirrel (or, as it is sometimes referred to, the tree rat.

We had grey squirrels in the garden's of the last 2 houses we've lived in and the little buggers were always digging up the flower bulbs.

Grey squirrels are not sweet little furry things - they are pests, and anything to reduce their number is to be applauded.

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#5 Wed 31 Dec 08 1:33pm

GeoffP

Forum champ
Occupation Retired Clergy & Computer Consultant
From Bradford, West Yorks
Member since Mon 03 Jul 06

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

And here's a recipe:_

Spiced squirrel popcorn recipe

Grey squirrel is a fine-tasting meat, not unlike free-range chicken. This is a wonderfully fast way to eat meat, ideal if you are tired and hungry.
It will provide your body with protein, starch and calories. It is delicious dipped in home-made aioli and it is absolutely delicious with beer, if you can find a local brewery on your travels.

Feeds 4-6
Ingredients
23 squirrel
1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
50g arrowroot
vegetable oil, for frying
For the spiced salt:
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon allspice
1 blade of mace
75g salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme or sage leaves (optional)

Method: How to make spiced squirrel popcorn
1. To make the spiced salt, using a pestle and mortar grind all the spices into a fine powder and mix this into the salt with the herbs (if using).
2. Take the meat off the squirrel and cut it into thin slivers. Toss the meat in the fish or soy sauce and then in the arrowroot.
3. Heat the oil in a large deep pan over a high heat until it is shimmering. Test the heat by touching the oil with a piece of meat. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough to fry the squirrel. Do this in small batches, so that the pieces do not crowd the pan and thus bring down the temperature of the oil.
4. When the squirrel has turned crispy and golden, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. Sprinkle the spiced salt over it and serve.

If you can't find the squirrels, use 2 chicken breasts or 300400g pork tenderloin.

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#6 Wed 31 Dec 08 1:37pm

whitedog

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Occupation striving to be a better human
From america
Member since Sat 09 Feb 08

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

We in US love our squirrels. I'm sorry they are bullying your red ones, maybe someone should find the way to bolster the red's dna. And I love rats too. And mice. And snakes, and spiders, and, oh why bother

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#7 Wed 31 Dec 08 1:39pm

shammrok

Forum super champ
Occupation Growing things
From Up the garden path...Tasmania
Member since Thu 02 Sep 04

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

Whitedog if you love snakes and spiders, then Oz is the place for you wink

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#8 Wed 31 Dec 08 2:19pm

whitedog

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Occupation striving to be a better human
From america
Member since Sat 09 Feb 08

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

My friend Jean is there, she loves it. I don't have snakes in my yard, at least they don't let me know I do, but we have lots of spiders. You must have some fabulous ones. Especially up north, eh? Do you have snakes around the house? I could never have one for a pet, but love them outside. A guy I met got me into them, said rattle snakes have great senses of humor. Flip Reed was his name, an ex olympic wrestler, he was so strong he walked through the play yard of the day camp he ran and walked normally with a kid on each arm and leg. He made in a ten minute interview a life long impression.

Spiders left to their devices will keep down armies of roaches. If you spray you kill everything, not good.

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#9 Wed 31 Dec 08 2:25pm

shammrok

Forum super champ
Occupation Growing things
From Up the garden path...Tasmania
Member since Thu 02 Sep 04

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

As a kid we had snakes in the yard, some have been seen around our area and you see them on the roads and on bushwalks. Spiders I have in every size and colour and shape in my garden and sometimes inside. Always the daddy long legs in the bathroom.

No squirrels here although rabbits and wallabies are at pest proportions, but they are still cute and cuddly.

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#10 Wed 31 Dec 08 2:35pm

whitedog

Forum champ
Occupation striving to be a better human
From america
Member since Sat 09 Feb 08

Re: Paul Parker describes himself as a conservationist.

Sounds really nice!!!!

I've only seen snakes a few times in the wild. One under a bush in a wild place in LA. It was short and thick and seemed just slightly bothered, didn't move really, I did. And a green garter snake slitheringthrough some daylilies at a friends house while I was alone there in their way backyard, like a sacred secret. I really wish we could get over our prejudices about these people.

Last edited by whitedog (Wed 31 Dec 08 2:43pm)

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