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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Red Squirrels

There seems to be a glimmer of hope in the Red Squirrels fight against Squirrel pox.

Scientists have discovered that some squirrels have developed an immunity against the pox and it is hoped that a vaccine could be developed.

Dr Sainsbury the Institute of Zoology said:
Up to now, we have never found antibodies to the virus in the red squirrels.

So it appeared that whenever red squirrels were exposed to the virus, they were getting the disease and dying.

But when we looked at these samples, we found there were eight squirrels that had antibodies to the virus.

They must have been exposed at some point to the virus, and either didn't develop the disease or developed the disease and managed to fight it.

While developing a vaccine would take years and a lot of investment, this study gives us an idea that there is a good chance of a vaccine working because we now know that reds can develop immunity

Costly it may be but it might make sense than a cull on Greys. The question is can Greys and Reds live together, my understanding was that Reds could compete in the right habitat. Anyone know for sure?


Anonymous said...

There are a lot of Greys around here, but I haven't seen any Reds.

Jane said...

I'm not sure if reds could survive. I had always been under the impression that the greys would push them out... Thanks for posting this as someone rang the doorbell just when this story came on the TV the other night... I wondered what they were talking about. Lets hope the vaccine gets developed. I would certainly love to see Reds in our woods.. and not just on Brownsea! Jane