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Research Call

DAFM Reference

Lead(Collaborating)Institution

DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2010 10/C/719 NUIG €140,173

Project Title:

The spread of grey squirrels to the west of Ireland

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Conor Lawton

Project Abstract

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis to Ireland.  The 2007 Irish Squirrel Survey (Carey et al. 2007) found this invasive species to have spread throughout much of the eastern half of Ireland. Its spread to the west has traditionally been prevented by the river Shannon, which blocks movement by the grey squirrels in that direction.  There were some records of sightings of the grey squirrel immediately west of the river, however, in the 2007 survey.  This project aims to investigate the grey squirrel's status in the Shannon region, and determine areas likely to play a key role in its spread into the west of Ireland.  Data collected on the population ecology of the squirrel and habitat availability in the region will feed into a model examining future spread of grey squirrels throughout Ireland. As well as having a negative impact on the native red squirrel, the grey squirrel causes considerable damage to trees through its habit of stripping bark.  Woods under particular threat of damage in the west, and in other parts of Ireland, will be determined and a management regime developed to control this problem.

Final Report:

Final Report (pdf 519Kb)