International call for action on grey squirrels

Scientists from around the world have called for governments and international bodies to take strong action against invasive squirrel species, including eradication and a ban on trade.

Meeting in Kyoto City, Japan, over 40 scientists from nine countries and three continents voted on a resolution which underlined the threat posed to biodiversity and human activity by invasive squirrel species.  Between 1876 and 2006 there were 248 identified introductions of squirrels involving 20 species.

Speaking at the conference, Professor Sandro Bertolino from the University of Turin highlighted the particular threat posed by grey squirrels.

“They are well known for their ability to adapt to new habitats and the impact that they have on biodiversity, both habitats and species, and human activity such as forestry and agriculture.” he said.

The meeting, the 6th International Colloquium on Arboreal Squirrels, held earlier this year unanimously approved the resolution calling for:

  • Government and international bodies to prevent new introductions of squirrels
  • A ban on the pet trade of squirrel species
  • The prompt eradication of small populations of grey squirrels
  • A permanent targeted population control programme

“We welcome the passing of this resolution and the robust approach adopted by these globally recognised scientists,” said George Farr Chairman of the European Squirrel Initiative.

“The grey squirrel is a significant threat to the biodiversity not only in this country but also in those other countries where it is an invasive alien species such as Italy and Ireland. Governments need to take firm action to control existing populations and prevent further spread and introduction,” he added.

ENDS

Further information on the resolution can be downloaded from the ESI website www.europeansquirrelinitative.org.news.html

Issued on behalf of the European Squirrel Initiative by Kendalls.

For more information, please contact Andrew Kendall, telephone 01394

Notes to editors

The European Squirrel Initiative was founded June 2002 by a group of concerned conservationists and foresters. The organisation seeks the restoration of the native Red Squirrel and the protection of the natural environment by removing the impact of the alien Grey Squirrel inEurope.

Its role is to:

Persuade conservation bodies and governments of the absolute necessity of riddingEurope of the Grey Squirrel.Continue to commission research into the impact of the Grey Squirrel on local ecosystems.

www.europeansquirrelinitiative.org

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