King Charles wanted to control the grey squirrel population by lacing Nutella with a contraceptive… but now the Government has revived the idea
- King Charles wanted to reduce the number of grey squirrels to protect red ones
- The plan never happened but the idea has been revived without using Nutella
It was a plan once hatched by King Charles as a way of controlling the booming grey squirrel population – lacing Nutella with a contraceptive.
He wanted to reduce their numbers to protect his beloved, and native, red squirrels.
It never happened, but now the idea has been revived, albeit without the nutty chocolate spread.
Under Government plans, people who live in areas where red squirrels vie for survival with greys may be asked to place in their gardens specially designed feeders that contain food laced with contraceptive.
The feeders are fitted with a weight-triggered gate that only grey squirrels can access and the contraceptive, currently being tested on squirrels in captivity, would work on both male and female greys.
People may be asked to place special feeders in their gardens under new Government plans
Trial results suggest this method could be as effective as culling – but far more palatable.
The research also shows the public is in favour, with half happy to have such a feeder in their garden.
While no final decisions have been made, Ministers are due to announce the Grey Squirrel Action Plan imminently.
Grey squirrels were brought to Britain in the 1870s but have caused a decline in the population of the red, due to competition for food and transmission of squirrel pox – which is fatal to their smaller cousins.