News from the Natural World: The notorious Grey Squirrel Mafia has done a dirty deal to ensure the destruction of Red Squirrels.
The Platypus can exclusively reveal that the Grey Squirrels have officially been up to no good. For decades there had been reports of foulplay and criminal activity but this is the first time we have concrete evidence. The dispute between Grey and Red Squirrels started almost 200 years ago. Red Squirrels are native to the British Isles and have made it their home for over 10,000 years. However, Grey Squirrels were introduced to the UK from the USA by Victorian explorers in the early 19th century. The first recorded established wild colony of Grey Squirrels was in 1876.
Immediately there was beef between the two squirrel species. They just didn’t get along. The problem was that the Greys were more aggressive and could compete more successfully for habitat and food. Also they were bigger, stronger and could eat young green acorns which destroyed the Reds natural source of food before they could eat them. Reds simply couldn’t digest the more mature acorns so were being beaten to a pulp.
Grey Squirrel mafia out to destroy Red Squirrels
It was around the mid 20th century when the first squirrel mafias formed. The Grey Squirrels first wanted to send a message. So they started leaving rotten acorns in the beds of the Red Squirrels. The Reds would come home from work to find a rotten and decaying acorn under their sheets. This tactic of intimidation alongside their natural superiority had meant that Red Squirrel numbers had plumeteted to as low as 10,000 whilst Grey Squirrels had rocketed to 2.4 million. But no one could imagine the horror that The Platypus would discover next.
The Grey squirrels unleashed a Squirrelpox virus which would only kill red squirrels. Once infected the virus causes skin ulcers, lesions, and scabs. It can also cause swelling and discharge and many red squirrels would die of starvation or dehydration. The mortality rate for untreated infected red squirrels in the wild appears to be 100% with most dying within 15 days of being infected. It was originally believed this was an act of terror committed only by the Grey Squirrels but they had an accomplice.
The Platypus can reveal that accomplice was Michael Gove the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2017–2019). The Grey Squirrel Mafia managed to bribe Michael Gove to help them destroy the Red Squirrel population. They knew that Gove would take the bribe as his appointment as the man in charge of the Environement had been done so he could destroy and sell off the natural world for profit. The Grey Squirrels knew he would support them and all they had to do was promise him a lavish duck house for his beloved duck Doris.
When the Platypus interviewed Gove he admitted that he had taken the bribe and worked with the Greys to take down the Reds. He said that “the environment always goes to the highest bidder”. Indeed. Clearly the Government had had enough of experts when it appointed Gove…
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