Charming little red squirrels were once a very familiar sight all over the UK but, over the years, their numbers have dwindled dramatically thanks to the introduction of their grey squirrel cousins, which have outcompeted them for food.
Grey squirrels also carry the squirrelpox virus, which red squirrels are highly susceptible to while greys are immune, a fact that has seen them really suffer since 1876, when greys were first introduced from North America.
On Red Squirrel Appreciation Day (January 21st), the UK Squirrel Accord unveiled a new action plan to help protect these nationally endangered animals, with the aim being to strengthen populations, support and improve collaborative action and promote better understanding and support for conservation across England.
Director of the organisation Kay Haw said: “Red squirrels are an important part of England’s natural heritage. Working together we can ensure they have a positive future by mitigating the tragic declines in their numbers.
“While human actions endangered these much-loved mammals, it is also human actions that can reverse their fate. It is only thanks to the fantastic efforts of all those involved in red squirrel conservation that we still see them on the English mainland today.”
Grey squirrel management is essential in helping to protect red squirrels and bring them back from the brink. For example, gene drive technology could prove useful in keeping population numbers under control, with genes modified to enable sex biasing so all greys are born male to prevent reproduction.
You could also play your part if you currently have a squirrel infestation onsite, not only safeguarding red squirrel populations but also reducing the amount of damage being done to your premises at the same time. If you’d like to find out more about UK squirrel pest control, get in touch with us today.