Squirrels dying in Britain – 06/21/2005

  • October 23, 2013 at 3:07 am #724

    — In pac-pc@yahoogroups.com, “Bridget” <bcolemanconroy8>
    A virus is spreading here in AZ among the bird population, all kind
    of hush, hush. Gosh, we have had some strange bird behavior in our
    back yard too.

    Here is the story re: squirrel virus. I don’t like an alarmist and
    have never been accused of being one myself, but I can only pass on
    what I know. And folks, it ain’t good. Why do we need to control the
    weather? It actually make little difference “why” the fact remains
    we should be informed of any pending catastrophe if that is the
    case. Well, shoot; I know it would have an enormous effect on in the
    economy if we were facing global crisis, but who the hell will
    survive to keep the ball rolling anyway.

    I know many of you believe there is a select few who are protected,
    but I would remind all of you that to continue the existence of
    Earth population would be extraordinarily difficult, I do mean that
    in its extreme.

    Be that as it may, I don’t have any answers; only dire questions.

    Britain’s vanishing red squirrels face deadly virus threat
    By Matthew Beard
    20 June 2005

    The dwindling population of red squirrels is being threatened by a
    virus that can kill them within 15 days.

    Squirrel pox is being spread by grey squirrels, which are immune to
    the virus, and it is infecting red squirrels living in Scotland.

    Conservationists say the estimated 160,000 population of red
    squirrels in the UK will almost certainly decline, since it has been
    noticed the virus was being spread by grey squirrels spreading north
    from Cumbria. The Moredun Research Institute near Edinburgh
    discovered the virus after taking blood samples from grey squirrels.

    Red squirrels with the virus will suffer skin ulcers, lesions and
    scabs, with swelling and discharge around the eyes, mouth, feet and
    genitals. Grey squirrels are seldom harmed by the virus but red
    squirrels have no immunity and usually die within 15 days.

    Scientists say it is the first evidence of squirrel pox virus in
    southern Scotland and that it has serious implications for the
    endangered population of red squirrels. Infected animals resemble
    rabbits with myxomatosis and are sometimes found shivering and

    Roger Cook, the chief executive of the European Squirrel Initiative,
    urged people to report any sightings of sick or dead red squirrels.
    Elly Hamilton, a red squirrel conservation officer from the Scottish
    Borders, said this was the first convincing case of the pox crossing
    the border.

    She said: “All we know is that the grey squirrels carry it. They are
    unaffected clinically by it so they act as a reservoir host for the
    disease. They pass it on to red squirrels, who, once they have
    caught it, die within two weeks.

    She added: “It is believed that where grey squirrels are carrying
    antibodies to this virus, that they replace red squirrels 20 times
    faster than they would do normally [when not diseased].”

    Prior to the introduction of greys to Britain from the United States
    in 1876, the red squirrel was common and widespread in deciduous and
    mixed forests.

    But the greys have proved to be an ecological disaster, and all that
    now remains of the reds is a relatively small population of 160,000
    in the UK, three-quarters of which are confined to Scotland.

    A report has identified strategies to help save the reds in
    Scotland. The paper, commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage
    (SNH), highlighted 127 woods in northern and central Scotland as
    potential priorities for conservation action.

    Reds make spherical nests called dreys, made of twigs and lined with
    leaves on the outside and sphagnum moss or grass on the inside. They
    build them high in a prominent tree fork in an attempt to keep out
    of the way of predators, although the strategy is not always

    Pine martens are known to kill red squirrels, and buzzards and
    goshawks also exact their toll. More reds, however, are probably
    killed by domestic cats, dogs and cars than by any natural predator.
    In summer, the species is active for much of the day, picking pine
    cones. Nibbled cones on the forest floor are often the most
    prominent sign of their presence above.

    Red squirrel numbers became so low in the early part of the previous
    century that they had to be supported with introductions from
    Scandinavia. 21 June 2005 10:08

    Search this site:

The forum ‘Strange Animal Deaths’ is closed to new topics and replies.