Return of the red squirrel to Portugal

Red squirrels became extinct in Portugal in the 16th century, probably as a result of hunting and deforestation. Now, recent news reports (Portuguese American Journal, The Portugal News Online) indicate that it is making a return. Red squirrels moved across from northwest Spain in the 1980s and sightings suggest it has now reached as far south as the River Tagus. Rita Gomes Rocha (University of Aveiro) is reported as saying, “The Red Squirrel in Portugal Project aims to understand the expansion of the red squirrel in the country, what factors influence that expansion and its behaviour patterns”.

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