I NOTE your recent feature ("Wild animals and wrestling with the big beast of Scottish politics", The Herald, November 27) and would like to pick out for comment the paragraph that concerns the culling of grey squirrels.

May I point out that this exercise, while being unjustifiably costly at a time of austerity, is also cruel and unnecessary. Red squirrels are not an endangered species in the rest of the world, their official conservation status is "least concern". The killing of grey squirrels is, in any case, not going to help the reds in Great Britain, since their local near-extinctions are due to habitat loss and started before grey squirrels were introduced.

Grey and red squirrels perform exactly the same function within the ecosystem, so killing one and artificially maintaining the other does not promote biodiversity and has no conservation value.

If people would rather see squirrels of one particular colour, it is their private preference, for which the public should not pay with their already limited funds, and, most importantly, for which other animals should not pay with their lives.

Natalia Doran (Urban Squirrels),

55 Laverstoke Gardens,