16 thoughts on “An evening with Iolo Williams”

    1. He is correct, they are an alien invasive species that have decimated the population of native Red Squirrels and do untold harm on bird populations by eating eggs and youngsters. Its time we adopted a sensible approach in controlling or indeed where possible removing alien populations of animals and birds within the UK and this does include humane culling for the benefit of native species.

      1. We are facing a year-on-year destruction of all species and calling for a cull of a species that has been here for 150 years does nothing but encourage those who care nothing for any species.

        1. What an unrealistic and naive view that is. There are many examples of non native species which have become dominant and pushed out native species, selective humane culling or other population control is necessary in many cases in order to protect both fauna and flora within the country. Grey Squirrels are one example, the burgeoning deer population which is destroying woodland is another.

          To say that adopting a sensible practice encourages others who care nothing for any species is untrue. Taking a wishy washy approach that nothing anywhere at any time under any circumstances is not going to convince those sections of society either.The environment in which these animals and birds exist is one fashioned by man and in certain cases it is necessary for man to take action to at least try and manage the problem.

          As for the study which claims Grey squirrels do not have an impact upon nesting birds, yes up to a point, but equally there are local areas where the damage done is significant and the impact upon the native Red Squirrel is proven and significant.

          1. I agree Matthew, red squirrels are still just hanging on in most of Cumbria, thanks to a massive effort by paid grey squirrel trappers, then theres mink, bad news for many waterbirds, they too have been greatly reduced by trapping, and reading the latest RSPB magazine I see the RSPB are going to try and eliminate house mice from a foreign island where the mice have greaty reduced sea bird numbers by eating their eggs. They are also trying to rid the Orkney Islandsof Stoats, which have been introduced by man, another project recently was removing Hedgehogs from some Scottish Islands also introduced by man ,both these species were reducing ground nesting birds.

            1. And some of the same people killing Polecats and now that Pine Martens are crossing into England, may well be removing the species that does the job they can’t do – remove Grey Squirrels!

          2. “Yes up to a point” indeed, Matthew. That’s why generalisations like “untold harm on bird populations” aren’t helpful at all. We see the same sort of thing regarding native predators all the time from vested interests, who, over much of the last century, used to justify the persecution of Red Squirrels in just the same way.

            1. This is becoming ridiculous, almost a comparison with the irrational hatred of harriers and anything else remotely resembling a predator by the hunting and shooting brigade. The idea or belief that grey squirrels have “no right to exist in the UK” is even reminiscent of the racial hatred expressed by the unbelievable number of people who voted for Boris Johnston as Prime Minister. Having worked professionally on Grey Squirrels in particular, I can confidently assure all the Grey-haters that the species has mainly occupied woodland habitat which is unlike the natural habitat occupied by the vast majority of Red Squirrels. Remember that MAN rendered the native Red Squirrels extinct in the UK, and the current stock are derived from introductions of a continental race. Should we cull them for that reason? Of course not. On my main study area I also carried out annual breeding bird CBCs, and found that the rise and fall of the Grey Squirrel population had no significant impact on the songbird populations. The squirrels’ fluctuation from year to year were directly connected to food availability in the form of mainly tree seed production. I found NO EVIDENCE in five years that the squirrels “decimated” bird populations or breeding success rates. Some of the commentators to this particular blog seem to have got their information from instinctive haters of so-called invasive species, or even from “a man down the pub. “ The slaughter of Grey Squirrels in the UK is cruel, unnecessary, pointless and ultimately unethical.

        1. Hi Coop, Unfortunately, a lot of that is so full of jargon that the average bird-lover would find it difficult to follow, sorry.

          1. Hi Jill,

            Without the “jargon”, all peer-reviewed evidence would be worthless. All authors, like children in a maths class, have to show their workings. Otherwise we’d be reduced to accepting the sort of anecdotal rubbish regularly spewed forth by the MA and their ilk. This said, the summary “does exactly what it says on the tin”.

  1. Heard him a number of times and he’s definitely worth hearing. Remember his State of Nature address? Now if only the politicians had taken that on board instead of just talking ….

  2. Fantastic bloke, if I still lived in Gloucester I’d be dam sure I made it over to this. Last year his ‘Saving the Land of the Wild’ program really blew away the propaganda about it being predators, not changes to farming, that are responsible for wildlife decline. Stunning program you wish everybody in the country could be forced to watch at the same time.

  3. Iolo Williams is generally a very good naturalist and presenter, but I was disappointed to hear him express a negative remark in one TV programme about our native Red Fox. Looking at a failed harrier nest, he said “Almost certainly the chicks were taken by a fox; this is the reason I hate foxes with a vengeance.” It’s bad enough “hating” grey squirrels in the false belief that they harm native wildlife, but our native and heavily persecuted Red Fox? I was appalled. On my harrier study area, I found that foxes predated 1 in 3 of harrier nests, but 2 in every 3 nests (barring illegal predation by a gamekeeper), I accepted as a reasonable level of success, working out at an average of 2-3 young fledged per breeding pair.

  4. You should not ‘hate’ one predator, native predator, for predating another native prey. That, as we all know, is what its all about. Extraordinary comment from a very good, well respected & rightfully, otherwise, naturalist, that just fuels the wildlife killers out there who dont need much of an excuse to go out and have fun killing these animals…any animals.

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