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Thread: Red Squirrels.

  1. #1
    Master molehill's Avatar
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    Red Squirrels.

    Missus and I are back from a 2 day conference (or "knowledge fair" as they call it) at Bangor university, hosted by Red Squirrels United.
    Some very interesting work and developments going on for the future, to try and eradicate grey squirrels from the UK and conserve our native reds. We learnt a lot regards new methods of grey control, but it all hinges on the good old volunteers to hold the ground for the reds until new science can turn the tide in their favour. Or the cavalry in the form of pine martens come galloping to the rescue!

    Much will hinge on the work being done to develop immunocontraception against greys, this is going well and looking very exciting but still realistically 5-10 years away before we have it developed, tested, licenced, manufactured and out in the field. In theory this could see the end of grey squirrels in the UK, but probably not in my lifetime .

    Near home we have a trail camera on a feeder that has shown a red squirrel by day and a marten by night - bit of a double success .
    Any damn fool can make money, show me someone who can make time.

  2. #2
    Master wharfeego's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molehill View Post
    ...Some very interesting work and developments going on for the future, to try and eradicate grey squirrels from the UK and conserve our native reds....
    Good stuff.
    Any paid work going?

  3. #3
    Master ba-ba's Avatar
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    Question: do martens distinguish between red and grey, or is it the excess of grey that will result in increased marten numbers leading to fewer greys?

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    Master molehill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ba-ba View Post
    Question: do martens distinguish between red and grey, or is it the excess of grey that will result in increased marten numbers leading to fewer greys?
    Martens will kill and eat both, if they have the opportunity. But as reds evolved with martens they have reached a balance (as with most predators and prey) where martens probably only catch a few old, injured, very young. Their main diet are voles, mice, seeds, fruit, eggs and they love jam sandwiches - apparently!

    Grey's didn't evolve with martens, spend more time on the ground (easier to catch) and heavier in the trees, so slower to escape. But the main reason is not that martens kill all the Grey's, but rather the presence of a predator (that they didn't evolve with) can stress them, so they fail to reach breeding weight, lose condition, exit the area. That's it simplified, but interesting work going on.

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    Master molehill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wharfeego View Post
    Good stuff.
    Any paid work going?
    I wouldn't be at all surprised in the near future, quite a few calls for full time rangers (grey squirrel control) if funding can be found. I guess mainly in the north England and areas with some reds.

  6. #6
    Grandmaster IanDarkpeak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ba-ba View Post
    Question: do martens distinguish between red and grey, or is it the excess of grey that will result in increased marten numbers leading to fewer greys?
    Hi Nick I heard a report that being lighter they can go to smaller braches that greys can't go on so the Martens can get at them, this bears out what Moley says.

    I also heard on the radio the first official sightings of reds on Snowdon this week.

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