Supported by THE SLATER FOUNDATION
In 1997 the red squirrel population on Anglesey was close to extinction and fewer than 40 adults remained. Fourteen years later and the population has increased to 700 with red squirrels now a common sight in coniferous woodland, broadleaved stands, parks and gardens. In 2008 they crossed the Menai Strait and colonised Several Gwynedd woodlands.
Anglesey now contains the largest single population of red squirrels in Wales. A dynamic partnership between landowners, community groups and local volunteers is working to improve woodland habitats, erect nest boxes, provide supplemental feeding and monitor populations. In 2012 red squirrels will be reintroduced to the Llangefni Dingle and we will begin a new chapter – an extensive cull of grey squirrels in Gwynedd that we hope will see red squirrels return to Bangor and the surrounding district.
The virus can produce lesions in the digestive system with diarrhoea and intestinal bleeding. Disease is however difficult to detect because the characteristic lesions in the intestines decay rapidly after an animal dies and may no longer be visible to an examining veterinary pathologist. Through the use of laboratory tests including screening for viral DNA, it is now known that the virus is associated with significant mortality in red squirrel captive breeding programmes throughout the UK. More than 80% of captive red squirrels screened were found to have the infection.
Researchers also discovered that wild and captive red squirrels can be infected but without developing disease. On Anglesey, otherwise healthy squirrels that were killed by road traffic or other traumatic injury were found to be infected. Read More…
Red squirrels are increasingly being killed on Anglesey roads as the animals increase in number and distribution. We are urgently monitoring the situation and have funding to erect two rope bridges in 2014. It is really important that we are able to demonstrate a need for these and that we place them in the best locations to reduce traffic related mortality of red squirrels.
In addition to recording deaths, we work in partnership with AHVLA Vets in Penrith and Mr David Everest of AHVLA Weybridge to detect pathological infections and screen for viral particles in tissue samples. This work is invaluable as it provides a means of monitoring for disease outbreaks in the red squirrel population.
If anyone sees a dead red squirrel could you either ring 07966150847 (24hrs) or email the project staff/volunteers at the website (see our contact details below).
If bodies can be picked up (using a plastic bag or gloves), we are happy to come and collect from any local address. We will subsequently let people who have collected animals know the results of Post Mortems.