Reading an article about the remarkable science of ridding Georgia of its foreign rat populations – I was struck by the feat that this problem posed and the ingenuity of our clever and intrepid scientists.

The rats were introduced to this remote island and have since all but wiped out the populations of indigenous birds.

This rat infestation was said to be an impossible task to solve. And now that it has been accomplished, the author of the article posed other imponderables including the grey squirrel’s penetration in to England at the expense of our beautiful indigenous red squirrel.

This notion exorcised me. How romantic I thought? Who wouldn’t want to walk in a woodland full of red squirrels? And if we need to exterminate the greys for this to happen, then so be it.

But yesterday morning everything changed when Tessa finally got on the squirrel kill list. Walking in Richmond Park as we do every day, a baby squirrel was no match for a fit and powerful Staffie and I was aghast.

I hared over, shouting and waving and Tessa duly dropped her prize – and I now faced a dilemma. The squirrel is traumatised and not moving and when it does finally make a run for it, I realise that it is injured, so it is forced in to making a crawl for it. It’s a pitiful site as it labours up a tree, dragging its useless hind legs after it and my walk is ruined.

No use telling Tess off of course. Instinct being what it is; she still chases the bloody dear even after one of the beats has shoved an antler in to her mid-rift!

So if the greys are to be wiped out in order to allow the rightful and original reds to thrive again, then fine but count me out as a helper. Perhaps, do it when I am away. In Edinburgh maybe for The Glory Year. The whole of August by the way…

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