Alien Species

Outbreaks of lethal squirrelpox virus in red squirrels in the North of England and Scotland

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Outbreaks of squirrelpox virus in red squirrels have recently been reported in Dumfries and Galloway in southern Scotland (Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, Daily Record), and Northumberland  (The Journal) and Penrith (ITV) in the north of England. Grey squirrels carry the virus without obvious signs, but red squirrels that become infected develop lesions to their faces, […]

All-Ireland Citizen Science survey of red and grey squirrels and pine martens launched

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Members of the public are invited to take part in an All-Ireland Citizen Science survey of pine martens and red and grey squirrels. The survey, organised by researchers from the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway and the Ulster Wildlife and Vincent Wildlife Trust, aims to record sightings during 2019. There is evidence, notably from the […]

Invasive Alien Species Order 2019

Monday, February 25th, 2019

From 29th March 2019, the EU Invasive Alien Species Order 2019 will take effect. As a result, Government Agencies will not issue licences that allow “invasive” species taken into captivity because they were injured or orphaned, such as grey squirrels or muntjac deer, to be looked after or released back into the wild. This will […]

Red squirrels in Bangor, North Wales on the increase

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Despite an outbreak of squirrelpox virus (SPQV) in 2017, red squirrels in the city of Bangor in North Wales have increased in 2018. SQPV is carried by grey squirrels and invariably fatal to red squirrels (The Bangor Aye). Red Squirrels Trust Wales has embarked on a project (Painting the Town Red) to rid the city […]

More evidence that the spread of pine martens may help red squirrels in Britain

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

A recent paper by Emma Sheehy and colleagues (Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2018) has provided empirical evidence that, as pine martens extend their range in the north of Britain, alien grey squirrel numbers fall. In contrast, native red squirrel populations are not affected and can recover from the competitive effects of […]

Are alien grey squirrels cleverer than native red squirrels in Britain?

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

A recent paper published in the scientific journal Animal Behaviour by Pizza Chow and colleagues has demonstrated that alien grey squirrels are slightly better than native red squirrels at solving certain problems involving the removal of hazelnuts from transparent plastic containers. The study has attracted a lot of attention in the media (International Business Times, UPI, Sky News, Channel […]

“Daily Politics” – to control or not control grey squirrels in UK

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Recently the UK Government has stressed out the need to control grey squirrels to prevent bark-stripping damage to trees. The BBC Programme, Daily Politics,  debated the issue on 30/1/18 with Craig Shuttleworth from Bangor University, and Natalia Doran from the group Urban Squirrels (see a clip BBC News).

LIFE14 NAT/UK/000467 National red squirrel project launched

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

An EU funded and National Lottery Sciurus Life project is launched that will enable local communities across the north of England and Wales to become involved in conserving the red squirrel. The Sciurius Life project aims are to: Develop mechanisms to prevent the unintentional introduction of grey squirrels to currently uncolonised woodland landscapes; Develop early warning/rapid response mechanisms to ensure the island of Anglesey in North Wales is not recolonised; Develop rapid response mechanisms to mitigate the impacts of grey squirrels in urban woodlands with high biodiversity and tourism value; Develop early warning systems to detect grey squirrels in sparsely populated rural landscapes; Develop more efficient strategic mechanisms to evolve community-based grey squirrel management; Quantify the financial and community-based resources needed to achieve regional eradication; […]

A breakthrough in the battle against the grey squirrel invasion in Italy

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

In January, Ministers of the Environment, Agriculture and Economic Development in Italy signed a decree that forbids any trade, breeding or possession of North American grey squirrels and other alien species, such as Pallas squirrels, throughout the country. The development is significant because many of the alien grey squirrel discovered in the region of Lombardy, […]

Red squirrels on the island of Anglesey move into town gardens

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Conservation efforts to return red squirrels to the island of Angelsey off the north west coast of Wales have gone so well that red squirrels are now being seen in people’s gardens. Over the past 15 years, conservation work has involved removing alien grey squirrels and reintroducing red squirrels to boost the dwindling population. Now […]