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Grey squirrels captured, neutered to preserve red squirrels

Compromise plan after activists protest EU extermination order

28 January, 20:10
Grey squirrels captured, neutered to preserve red squirrels (ANSA) - Genoa, January 28 - Park authorities in the seaside resort of Nervi in the northwestern Liguria region on Tuesday began capturing Eastern grey squirrels before neutering them in an effort to protect the indigenous red squirrel, local sources said.

The eastern grey tree rodent, which was introduced from North America, has been deemed a threat to its red Eurasian cousin, according to the European Union (EU).

A committee from the 1979 EU Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, also known as the Bern Convention, has repeatedly asked Italy to eradicate the grey squirrel, issuing recommendations in 1999, 2005, and 2007.

Local and regional authorities came up with the compromise solution of capturing and neutering the grey squirrels after animal rights organizations and local institutions resisted the call to exterminate them. A former fishing village, Nervi possesses the largest seaside urban park in the Mediterranean. Made up of land legacies from three former estates and called the Parks of Nervi, it stretches over 22 acres (nine hectares) filled with exotic and tropical plants, typical Mediterranean flora, and many kinds of wildlife.