A farmer has defended felling hundreds of timber on the banks of Londonderry’s River Foyle amid criticism from a pink squirrel conservation group.
Tim McCaul stated the sitka spruce timber have been planted in 1995 as a manufacturing crop and are being replanted.
However the North West Purple Squirrel Group stated their loss may have a critical affect on the squirrels’ habitat.
The world is one in every of Northern Eire’s “finest pockets” of pink squirrels, the group stated.
The ten acre unfold of timber was planted by Mr McCaul’s father on the household farm at Balloughry, near Derry’s border with Donegal, in an space many native folks confer with as “out the road”.
“Landowners have to just accept that they should take care of the wildlife on their land,” Pam Hardeman of the pink squirrel group instructed BBC Radio Foyle’s Breakfast Show.
“We have to shield them, they’ll die out, there can be none left. These timber are superb habitat for them.”
She stated a survey of squirrel numbers now must be carried out after the elimination of the timber.
Mr McCaul stated he can perceive “how folks can be a bit upset to see this”.
“However it’s a part of enterprise,” he added.
The timber will now be used for to make issues like fencing and backyard furnishings, he defined.
“We’ve got to just accept this if we’re going to use wooden somewhat than plastics, this can be a typical incidence within the farming panorama.”
The world is to be replanted and the timber allowed to develop over the following 30 years, he stated.
An extra 6,500 new timber have additionally been planted on the farm.
Mr McCaul stated due diligence had been carried out earlier than contractors minimize down the timber.
“The contractor will do a pre-assessment to see if they may discover any pink squirrels’ dreys. They have not discovered them – that isn’t to say they aren’t right here, however they have not discovered any,” he continued.
Purple squirrel numbers have been of concern to conservationists for numerous years.
The native reds should compete for meals and habitat with gray squirrels, launched within the nineteenth century from north America.
These can even carry squirrelpox, a virus that doesn’t hurt the gray carrying the virus however is lethal to reds.