NAME: Jim Forbes, Gardener at Regens Park
TLG: In your experience, what are the positive effects of having the grey squirrel present at Regens Park?
JF: Many visitors to Regent’s Park are very keen to see the antics of the grey squirrels and they provide a ready means to observe and interact with wildlife in an urban environment.
TLG:… and what are the negative?
JF: Grey squirrels often strip trees of bark potentially killing the tree. Grey squirrels also predate on bird eggs and chicks reducing the small songbird population and also on hedgehog young. They sometimes pull up seasonal bedding plants and bulbs damaging floral displays. Grey squirrels also attract visitors who give them food some of which may encourage the rat population in the park.
TLG: How long have you been working at Regens Park?
JF: 6 years
TLG: In your time there, have you witnessed a decline or an increase of grey squirrels?
JF: It has neither increased nor declined but remained stable throughout.
TLG: Is there other species of squirrels in Regens Park, other than grey squirrels?
TLG: What do you see at the Regens squirrels greatest threat?
JF: Foxes, dogs and cars plus potentially over-population if their numbers increased too much.
TLG: What are your opinion on people feeding the squirrels?
JF: It is perfectly understandable and historically an established pass time to visit parks and feed the wildlife.
However good the intentions feeding squirrels is something The Royal Parks discourage as it potentially interferes with the health of all wildlife in the park which is against Park Regulations.
TLG: Would you want the grey squirrel population to grow in Regen's park? Why/why not?
JF: Grey Squirrels are classified as an invasive species and also for the answers outlined in Question 2. I would not wish to see the population increase as it could result in an over-population of the park space by one species over others.
TLG: What have you observed the diet of grey squirrels in Regens park? What do they diet on in Regens Park?
JF: They will eat most food provided by the public, anything they can get out of the bins and the one thing that they should eat which is acorns