Alien Species

Mixed news for red squirrels in Ireland

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

The All-Ireland Squirrel and Pine Marten Survey 2019 has been published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The findings are encouraging. For example, pine marten sightings have increased over the last seven years and their core range has expanded from the west and midlands to County Wicklow and Northern Ireland. At the same time, […]

Red squirrel numbers in Scotland remain stable

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

The latest survey of red and grey squirrels in Scotland indicates that numbers are stable with some minor regional changes and some optimism for the future. Further details can be found in: The National, The Canary, The Herald.

Red squirrels recognise the odour of pine martens, grey squirrels don’t

Friday, February 28th, 2020

Joshua Twining and colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast have recently published a study in Royal Society Open Science that shows that red squirrels are better than grey squirrels at detecting the scent of pine martens. This may be one reason why alien grey squirrels tend to ‘disappear’ when pine martens move into an area, whereas […]

Alert: possible outbreak of squirrel pox disease in red squirrels in Cumbria

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

An unconfirmed case of a red squirrel with squirrelpox virus disease at Smardale Nature Reserve, Cumbria was reported by a Cumbria Wildlife Trust volunteer. The virus is carried by grey squirrels and the disease it causes in red squirrels is invariably fatal. Local people and volunteer groups are being asked to be vigilant and sterilise […]

Pine martens introduced into the Forest of Dean

Friday, October 4th, 2019

People interested in wildlife in general and squirrels in particular will be closely following the progress of pine martens recently introduced into the Forest of Dean in the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. Eighteen martens were moved from Scotland to the Forest of Dean by Forestry England, the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Vincent Wildlife […]

UK Squirrel Accord – new website

Monday, September 16th, 2019

The UK Squirrel Accord aims to secure and expand native red squirrel populations and prevent damage to trees by managing introduced grey squirrels. It is a partnership of 37 forestry and conservation organisations, Government agencies and companies, and has connections to volunteer red squirrel groups. It has launched a new website (UK Squirrel Accord) which […]

New studies on the origins of melanism in grey squirrels

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

A wild melanic (black/dark brown) introduced grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was first seen in the UK in Woburn, Bedfordshire in 1912. It is now believed there may be as many as 25,000 in East Anglia. Recently published research by Helen McRobie from Anglia Ruskin University UK, and colleagues from USA, Nancy Moncrief and Nicholas Mundy, […]

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 […]