The Battle of the native red squirrel against the invasive grey squirrel.
This has and continues to be a long battle in control and public perception around the control methods.
A great talk from Craig Shuttleworth on ‘Landscape scale grey squirrel control and the European incentive.
Some background info on the squirrels
Red squirrels are native to Britain they have a smaller frame than the greys and are susceptible to the squirrel pox virus (parapoxvirus) which the grey squirrels are carriers of. This is an awful virus that creates liaisons and scabs around the mouth eyes and anus, which leads to the death of the squirrel within 3-4 days (Not pleasant at all).
Although the greys show no signs of the virus they are very good carriers which can create a problem capable of wiping out populations of red squirrels. The grey has immunity but sadly according to Chris there has only been one case where a healthy red squirrel has been reported to have antibodies.
The greys have also had an effect on songbird populations, with a 15 % depression, where squirrels were present.
So these are 2 major impacts on Britain’s wildlife.
With this in mind there needs to be a methods of control.
Control needs to be effective, humane and cost effective.
Chris is involved in the control throughout Britain.
Anglesey is an area where the control has been successful.
Sadly the only effective method of control is killing. Although personally the idea of having to kill is upsetting, I understand that it is necessary to save the reds and species of songbird.
This is an area where animal rights activists need reassuring that currently this is the only method that is effective.
Hopefully in the future there may be a better way of control, other than killing.
further information can be found by following this link 🙂
heres a lovely video from the Red squirrel sanctuary in Scotland 🙂