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Letter: It's eco ignorance that's killing our species

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SIR – I must respond to a letter from Peter Whitefield (Goshawks are killing our doves, 24th December).

As a woodland manager and an outdoor education instructor, I was dismayed but not surprised at the ignorance on such matters.

Apex predators are vital not only to food chains but the eco-systems themselves. Taking them away will seriously harm the environment – just watch the wolves of Yellowstone on YouTube.

Should the grey squirrel be targeted?
Should the grey squirrel be targeted?

Since their reintroduction, not only have the wolves controlled the numbers of their prey, but they have boosted tree and wildflower habitats and even changed the course of rivers.

As Mr Whitefield points out, in the 1960s predators were kept under control but by barbaric hunting and trapping, causing devastation to eco-systems, hence the ban.

As for badgers, it is a complex issue that still has no real solution. It all comes down to how humans need to work with nature rather than destroy or tame it. But we still continue to do this and at our peril. Badgers do eat anything they find, including bumblebee nests, but modern agriculture has pretty much destroyed red clover for silage, causing a few of our 28 species of bumblebee to become extinct.

Doves as pets also cause more inbalance in eco-systems, with native turtle dove populations vulnerable.

If you wish to target species, then look to grey squirrels who kill trees and woodland birds. But then millions of small British birds are killed every year by pet cats, along with all mice species, voles, frogs, newts and shrews to name but a few.

I have lived and worked in the Forest all my life. I'm not a pen-pushing, do-gooder townie, and I have witnessed that this country has been ravaged by so-called progress, turning our beautiful isle into a desert, because of eco ignorance.

Simon Hemsley,

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