The battle to save the red squirrel

The battle to save the red squirrel

Britain’s iconic red squirrel is in trouble.
The problem: The invasive Eastern grey squirrel, brought to England from North American about
140 years ago. Wealthy collectors in the 19th century
liked to keep gray squirrels as pets or release them onto their estates
as kind of a living lawn ornament. In fact, there’s genetic evidence that all of the
gray squirrels in Ireland are descended from 6 pairs sent as a wedding gift. The gray squirrel is bad news for the native red squirrels because they out-compete them for food and habitat. Worst of all, grays carry a virus called squirrelpox. It doesn’t harm
the gray squirrels, or people for that matter, but it is deadly to the reds. The many conservation groups are working to save the red squirrel have had some successes. Gray squirrels
have been eradicated from the Isle of Anglesey. It took 18 years, but now the
island’s red squirrels are on the rebound. There is hope that nature may help. The pine
marten, a relative of weasels, is a native predator. Scientists in Ireland
have noticed an intriguing pattern: where pine martens show up, the population
of gray squirrels declines and red squirrels start to recover.
It may be that red squirrels, which evolved with the pine marten, are better able to escape these tree climbing predators. The future of the red squirrel is looking brighter in the U.K. there’s still much to be done. The lesson for other countries is to prevent
gray squirrels from arriving at all, or getting rid of them as quickly as possible, and to definitely
not give them as wedding presents.

25 thoughts on “The battle to save the red squirrel

  1. Invasive species that invade another species home land and proceed to out number them? Hmmm, sounds familiar.

  2. We need a mass culling of all Grey Squirrels, Blacks, Asians, and Domestic Cats, all are out breeding and killing native species.

  3. The presence of grey squirrels is just one small factor in the declining number of reds. The major reason for the number of red squirrels declining over the years is people. Deforestation severely reduced the number of red squirrels. In fact, we've almost driven reds to extinction in the UK twice before. Red squirrels were also regarded as vermin for a very long time and people were encouraged to kill them. The Highland Squirrel Club killed 82, 000 red squirrels in the early twentieth century. There is also no hard evidence for the theory that grey squirrels transmit the squirrel parapox virus to the reds. This theory is based on a mathematical model of probability. One of the main causes of red squirrel deaths at the present time is automobiles. People driving cars run them over. Also, some squirrel feeders put up to encourage reds to thrive have been put in the wrong locations, causing red squirrels to cross roads to feed there. Some of the squirrel feeders were also found to have introduced disease (including squirrel parapox virus) into areas were the majority of red squirrels were previously healthy. Diseased red squirrels were leaving droplets of saliva on the feeders and this was spreading disease to other red squirrels who ate from the same feeders. Research has shown that grey squirrels cannot spread disease to red squirrels in this way so disease was being passed from red squirrel to red squirrel. The actual cause of SQPV (squirrel parapox virus) is most likely a parasite of some kind. Most likely some kind of tick.

  4. Grey squirrels did not invade the UK.
    No species at all invaded any place worth mentionng, they were introduced by so called civilized humans.
    Grey squirrels did not swim across the Atlantic thinking "hey, let;s take over Europe!"
    If you wanna solve that problem you will need to destroy civilization.
    And you won't, while it destroys everything around you for you are part of it.
    Combattng the so called "invasive species" is a vain and idiotic line of thought where industrial humans think they are better, and fails everywhere.
    Look at the idiots in Australia…they plan to get rid of their own introduced species while introducing more…with poisonous cyanide capsules implanted in the brains of dingo's.
    Insanity and further destruction of nature which is already in urgent mass destruction is the result.
    Leave it the Hell alone if anyone has an inkling of respect left.
    Nothing of the sort will happen.
    Industrial society will keep on destroying all squirrels, all mammals, all habitat and other species amidst the 6th Mass Extinction.
    I study the pine martens here…guess what?
    Wiped out like anything else….it is all bullshit.

  5. God I love red squirrels I’m so sad red squirrels are being taken over ;—; I hope in my grandchildren’s lifetime red squirrels will replace the grey squirrel’s population here 😀

  6. what a bunch of losers. they are actually encouraging the eradication of grey squirrels! this is like "science" for the immoral.

  7. Grey Squirrel! What is best in life?
    To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, to hear the lamentations of their women.

  8. The last red squirrel I saw in woods near was 35 years ago .grenaside woods south Yorkshire. Would love too see them back. It's a shame the Forrest people here wont let any one control the grays.i would do it in a heart beat

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