Still time to eradicate alien grey squirrels in North Italy?

The presence of alien North American grey squirrels is of extreme concern and could have potentially devasting impacts on native Eurasian red squirrels and woodland ecosyetms in central and southern Europe – see the Aliens and Current and Recent Projects web pages. A study on a recently discovered population of grey squirrels in Ticino Park, Lombardy (N Italy) has demonstrated the risk of spread of grey squirrels throughout north-central Italy and into the southern parts of Switzerland. However, population simulations suggest that eradication of the grey squirrel is still possible if an appropriate eradication strategy is put into place immediately. To this end the authors suggest that a scheme to monitor the distribution of red and grey squirrels involving the public will help to increase public awareness of the problem in the region. They conclude that the successful containment of further grey squirrel spread will require co-operation between Italian and Swiss wildlife authorities.

See: Tattoni, C., Preatoni, D., Lurz, P., Rushton, S., Tosi, G., Bertolino, S., Martinoli, A., & Wauters, L. (2006) Modelling the expansion of a grey squirrel population: implications for squirrel control.Biological Invasions, 8, 1605-1619. Listed on Publications web page.

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