Great article detailing the issues in the Grey v Red squirrel conservation debate. I have had the good fortune to see Red Squirrel in Lancashire; in Scotland and on Brownsea Island off the south coast of England and would dearly love to be able to see them somewhere closer to home
It is one of our most loved creatures and like the Robin redbreast is one of our most treasured creatures. Symbolised in snowy British winters it is iconic and yet like most of us, I’ve never seen a Red Squirrel.
150 years ago they were rampant across much of the nation but then in 1876 in Henbury Park in Chester North American Grey Squirrels were released as an exotic attraction and within 30 years they had spread for hundreds of miles in each direction.
Since 1950 the Red Squirrel population in Great Britain has declined by 95% and they have become confined to isolated areas on off-shore islands and isolated highland forests. There are several reasons for the decline of Red Squirrels whose numbers may well have been falling before the introduction of the Greys due to the loss of their natural broad leaf woodlands. The North American Grey Squirrel…
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