Use of citizen science to assess the success of reintroduction of Red Squirrels Sciurus vulgaris on Mersea Island, Essex

Smith, Eleanor and Burr, Chris and Urqhart, Douglas and Deeming, Charles (2018) Use of citizen science to assess the success of reintroduction of Red Squirrels Sciurus vulgaris on Mersea Island, Essex. Essex Naturalist, 35 . pp. 1-20. ISSN 0071-1489

Documents
Use of citizen science to assess the success of reintroduction of Red Squirrels Sciurus vulgaris on Mersea Island, Essex
Publishers PDF

Request a copy
[img] PDF
#230) Smith et al. 2018 Naturalist2018-red squirrel.pdf - Whole Document
Restricted to Repository staff only

7MB
Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

The Eurasian Red Squirrel is the only native tree squirrel in Europe and is widely dispersed throughout the Palearctic but is heavily threatened in Britain and parts of Europe by habitat loss, disease and, in particular, by competition from introduced Grey Squirrels. Red Squirrels have now been replaced by Grey Squirrels throughout the majority of Britain and only remain in areas of Northern England and Scotland, and small regions in Wales and Southern England. Mersea Island was a site of a reintroduction programme, with a total of 29 Red Squirrels being released in batches at three different sites between 2012 and 2015. Squirrels were monitored by members of the public who recorded their sightings on social media pages. This study analysed these sightings from September 2012 to August 2017. The population of Red Squirrels rose steadily over the study period, as did interest from the public. Sightings were biased to areas of increased human habitation, but the distribution of Red Squirrels still appeared to be increasingly widespread across the island over the years. The density of Red Squirrel sightings significantly positively correlated with density of greenery cover, and was significantly affected by type of habitat (rural versus suburban). Most reported fatalities were anthropogenic in nature. The reintroduction project on Mersea has been relatively successful, but areas for improvement could include connection of woodland fragments, increased public awareness and monitoring of genetic diversity, to improve the chance of maintain and maximising the population size of Red Squirrels on the island.

Keywords:Red squirrel, Reintroduction
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D447 Environmental Conservation
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:35532
Deposited On:30 Apr 2019 10:50

Repository Staff Only: item control page