Red squirrels in Scotland are dying.
So says this report in the Scotsman which rightfully points a finger at the eastern grey squirrels - members of the non-native species who never asked for transport across the Atlantic but, nonetheless, are there. And with them is a lethal form of pox that, once it seizes its victim, kills over a period of weeks.
The greys are considered carriers - not victims themselves - because they appear to have some measure of immunity.
It is particularly tragic to see this small red squirrel, much loved in its native United Kingdom, immortalized by Beatrix Potter, destroyed by this highly virulent strain. It is sadder still that a distant cousin is responsible (even inadvertently) for the annihilation.
Britain's response to these awful deaths is not a much better antidote - it amounts to a different kind of pox. One called fear.
Officials have been calling for some time for the trapping, killing and otherwise wiping-out of the grey population.
There have been epidemics of human diseases in the past, ones that will go unnamed here, but these diseases too have been tied to certain populations of people, with hatred, fear, violence and other means also considered as antidotes, or measures of prevention.
Whether the violence suggested is directed at a human or an animal target it is still, unquestionably, genocide.
Can't science find a better way?