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The beginning of the end for the red squirrel


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Grey squirrels have been discovered for the first time in France in Maurienne, Haute Savoie after having been "introduced" in north Italy. Only urgent action to eradicate them now stands any chance of preventing an uncontrollable spread with disastrous consequences for the Red squirrel.

I guess I always knew it would only be a matter of time before some bright spark did it!!

Sad day, Chris

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The GS are now very close to the last remaining RS habitats in Scotland.

Where I live in the UK there are annual culls of GS and one local college disposed of 300 in one day.

On the same day I took out 13 in my garden, which is only 30 x 40 feet.

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Sorry about that rather short response Tresco, I was just going to bed.

Just prior to that I had done some rather interesting research having found an obscure note in a reference book, after trawling the web I discovered that way back in 1948 an ambassador in Turin, Italy imported a pair of GS which he put in his garden and slowly but surely they started to spread in the area. When eventually it was realised that this was a problem, control culling was introduced and just when this was becoming successful ( this is the bit I really love ) in 1997 an animal rights group decided to take action in the courts to stop the culling and for three years the culling was halted while the action in the courts was taking place. The result was that the culling could continue but by then the GS had got totally out of control and moved into regions where culling is close to impossible, hence the current situation.

The issue with this is that GS are not native to Europe and the situation in the UK clearly shows what the eventual outcome is likely to be, at best very few RS from Portugal to China which is their natural range.

Chris

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I read somewhere that the Red squirrel was starting to make a bit of a comeback in the UK thanks to culling, what I don't understand is what is it about the grey squirrel that makes it difficult to co-exist with the red?

 

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Chris,

I don't know whether or not they are in France, but as far as your hit list is concerned, I would add the signal crayfish which was introduced to the UK from America.

These carry the crayfish plague which does not effect them but creates havoc in the native species.

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There was a program on British TV some time ago (within the last 6 months) about Grey/Red squirrels and it suggested that it was not the Greys out-completing the Reds but more that the Red’s habitats were being destroyed and thus there were fewer places for them to live. However, Greys were better suited to the “modified habitats” and thus were doing a lot better.

It was only about Greys in the UK. It was going on about the Reds re-establishing themselves slowly southwards from Scotland mainly due corridors of suitable habitat allowing them to more to other suitable forests further south,

I have no idea about the truth of this program nor the truth of what it was presenting as I saw it but nothing else. I was not a major documentary but more the “naturalist” type “isn’t nature wonderful” type of program (half hour with some TV personality with an interest in nature – but I cannot remember who (and it may not have been the Bill Oddie ones).

Ian

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