Over the past 9 years I have been involved in voluntary work with the local ‘Brampton and District Red Squirrel Group’. I believe that it is necessary to take action to try and hold off the decline in the population of our native Red Squirrels.
The main reason for the decline has been the spread of Grey Squirrels throughout large parts of Britain following their introduction from the United States in the 19th century. The Grey Squirrel out-competes the Red Squirrel for food and is also responsible for the spread of the ‘para pox’ virus (SQPV). The virus causes little or no problem to the Grey Squirrel but if it is passed to the Red Squirrel it results in a long and agonising death of the animal, usually within 15 days from onset. There is no vaccine available to treat the virus at this time and if the virus is passed on to a Red Squirrel, the disease can quickly devastate a large population.
In recent years Grey Squirrels have been seen more frequently in, and around, Castle Carrock, resulting in fewer sightings of Red Squirrels. This is one reason why I became an active member of the Brampton Red Squirrel Group. At this moment in time the only solution is to trap, and humanely dispatch, the greys, and this is what I do. To date (July 2018), I have trapped, and shot, over 700 greys in this area.
You can help! :-
In order to assist in the control of the greys and the preservation of the reds, please report any sightings of red or grey squirrels. This can be done in a number of ways:-
- Report online, at http://rsne.org.uk/node/add/squirrel-report using the online sighting report form
A map reference of the sighting would be helpful when reporting, but the most important thing is that sightings are reported.
In addition to reporting sightings, if greys have been seen on your land, you can help by giving permission for traps to be placed.
Also, you could consider making a donation to this cause:-
- by post – send a cheque made payable to ‘B & DRSG’, to B & DRSG, c/o 9 Sids Field, Castle Carrock, Brampton, Cumbria CA8 9AQ
And finally, you could assist by becoming a volunteer trapper!