The Red-Bellied Beautiful Squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus) in Argentina

M. Laura Guichón writes:

“In 2003, I began studying the invasion dynamics of an alien mammal in Argentina: the Red-Bellied Beautiful Squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus). Less than five individuals of this arboreal species, native to South-east Asia, were liberated in the Pampas region, Argentina, in 1973. Initial questionnaire surveys have suggested that its distribution in this region is currently restricted to a 15 km radius from the release point. It is still in a slow phase of establishment, though showing increasing signs of more rapid expansion. Economic costs have already been reported by local inhabitants (losses to fruit and timber plantations and damage to coaxial cables and PVC installations), who demand the implementation of control actions to prevent further damage.

“In fulfilment of a UNESCO-L’Oréal Fellowship, I have come to England for one year to work with Dr. C. Patrick Doncaster. We are currently developing analytical and simulation models to predict the invasion dynamics of the Red-Bellied Squirrel in the Pampas region. My overall objective is to identify the specific habitats favouring the invasion process, and to propose management options to control the spread of the species.”

M. Laura Guichón, School of Biological Sciences’ University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 7PX United Kingdom. Tel. +44 23 8059 4396.

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