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This screenshot from the Forestry Department’s Facebook page shows a forestry officer holding the squirrel that was killed in Bequia.

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The Forestry Department in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Thursday, described as “an irresponsible and illegal act” the introduction of squirrels to the Grenadine island of Bequia.

While squirrels might be cute and entertaining to watch in their natural environment, they can spread diseases, upset the the natural ecosystem, and become pests in areas where they are introduced. 

In a post on its Facebook page, the Forestry Department said that a contingent of officers from the forestry services travelled to Bequia to investigate the reported sighting of the rodents on the island.

“The team was able to confirm the presence of the animals and proceeded to cull the animals. However only one was culled, the other was apparently injured.”

The department said that  the squirrels were brought to Bequia without an importation permit, or veterinary and or health certificates. 

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“That introduction was an irresponsible and illegal act. The introduction of exotic animals into a new environment is dangerous, these animals can bring diseases, become pest and upset the natural balances, especially on island ecosystems,” the department said.