Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Conservation: on the frontline

On my way to Scotland a few days ago, I stopped off near Carlisle to see Ashley Boon, the sporting artist. He's lived in Cumbria for 20 years, and loves to see the red squirrels that visit his garden. Just recently he spotted the first grey squirrel ever in the valley where he lives - which could spell disaster for the native reds. Apparently the greys carry parapox virus, which is deadly to reds.

So he's formed a committee, and started a trapping and shooting programme, with the full support of local landowners, to try to keep the greys out and save his beloved reds.

When I visited, he had already killed 18 grey squirrels in 10 days or so - he shot the 19th while I was with him taking photos.

You can read all about Ashley's efforts to save the red squirrels in our August issue - the Game Fair preview issue - which is out on 5 July. If I ever work out how to do it, I'll post a short extract from my interview with him too.

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