The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has become a signatory to the UK Squirrel Accord which brings together 30 other organisations, including the RSPB, Defra and the National Trust, with the aim of securing and expanding the red squirrel population.
A key challenge is the control of grey squirrels, an invasive non-native species which has had a massive negative impact on the native red squirrels. BASC has long supported conservation projects for red squirrels and is currently working with partners in each home country on targeted red squirrel recovery projects.
One new initiative BASCare developing this year is setting up specific clubs of BASC members to control grey squirrels. The aim is to limit the damage they cause to trees by activities such as bark stripping. Estimates for the damage caused by grey squirrels to the UK forested estate is in excess of £14 million per year.
Adrian Vass, manager for the UK Squirrel Accord said; “We welcome BASC joining the Accord as people who shoot are central to the control of grey squirrels. With the development of BASC’s grey squirrel control clubs and the ability of BASC and the UK Squirrel Accord to generate trust with landowners, we are keen to see more targeted control of grey squirrels to benefit wildlife and woodlands for everyone.”
Tim Russell, BASC Director for Conservation said; “We are delighted to sign the UK Squirrel Accord because its aims mirror our own. BASC and our members are extremely active across the UK in the control of grey squirrels and putting good habitat management in place for wildlife. We look forward to working with the Accord and other partners to enhance the already considerable contribution that shooting provides to protect woodlands and its wildlife like red squirrels.”