Gingers unite – the red squirrel struggle


Reds vs Greys. It’s quite literally a war for territory and for the last 100 years the British red has been losing out to the much larger American grey.

So Westmorland Red Squirrel society have been fighting for the red in south lakes and held a public meeting in ambleside on Wednesday 30th January. It’s an emotive issue and the room was packed with local people who want to conserve the local habitat.

The biggest issue for red squirrel conservation is, the only method of having them return to an area, is to exterminate grey squirrels.

Grey squirrels are officially classed as vermin and can be killed, humanly, without licence. The typical way is through live capture in a cage and a visit by a responsible person within a few hours.

The reason why red’s don’t survive where grey’s are is two fold:
-Grey’s are far more successful in competing for reasources and out reproduce the red’s.
-Grey’s carry a virus called squirrelpox which kills only red’s within two weeks of infection.

The reality is it’s a hard battle. We are quite literally fighting against nature by conserving a weaker species. But I think it’s a fight worth having.

For more details on how you can help visit the Westmorland Red squirrel society’s website.

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