Improving our understanding of squirrels
This autumn people are being asked to report sightings of both red and grey squirrels and contribute to the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey which runs from 23-29 September 2029. Details for how you can contribute are found here Great Scottish Squirrel Survey 2019
The Royal Scottish Forestry Society is a partner in the UK Squirrel Accord. In the autumn edition of the RSFS's journal Scottish Forestry, you can find articles from the key organisations involved in red squirrel conservation by clicking here.
Mel Tonkin of Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels writes on their experience over 10 years and describes their strategic approach across three different regions of Scotland.
"Conservation of red squirrels cannot be successful without addressing their primary threat: replacement by grey squirrels through resource competition, accelerated by squirrel pox disease where it is present."
"One of the simplest things everyone across Scotland can do to help is report sightings of both squirrel species on the project's website."
Andrew Kendall of the European Squirrel Initiative explains the impact of grey squirrels and approved methods of control.
"Controlling grey squirrels presents a challenge and various methods of control are available. ... New methods of control are in the pipeline such as fertility control, improved lures and biological methods based on predators such as pine martens."
"There is accumulating evidence that this native predator (pine martens) can benefit red squirrels by suppressing competing grey squirrel populations"
"Caution is needed at this stage as we do not know if pine martens will be helpful in all circumstances. Meanwhile grey squirrel control must continue by human agency."
More details of their work here European Squirrel Initiative