Inktober prompt: ORNAMENT
The red squirrel is the UK’s only native squirrel species.
However in the 1870s the grey squirrel was introduced from America as what was known as an ORNAMENTAL SPECIES. They were bought in literally just to look nice and different.
However, thanks to this unnatural human intervention after millions of years the population of the reds has dropped from the millions to an estimated 10-15,000 in England in just 100 years and are now officially classed as “near threatened”.
No problems with the grey squirrel, hence picking this guy for today’s drawing, they’re lovely animals and just doing what they do. And it’s fair to say that the greys could well have migrated to the UK naturally in time.
But this story of man’s impact to the animal kingdom is just one of hundreds of similar stories. Hopefully these days more thought would go into the potential impact but I’m afraid that if there’s a commercial reason then short-term greed will nearly always beat long-term common sense.
Drawn with a Speedball dip-pen with Higgins Black Magic ink on Canson 1557 180gsm bright white heavy paper.