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Monday, October 05, 2009

Squirrels

There is a project dubbed extreme squirreling whose aim is to seek out red squirrels in parts of the Highlands where few, or no, records exist.

The Forestry Commission hold records in core areas but little is known about populations in Sutherland, Caithness, Wester Ross, Morven and Ardnamurchan.

This is all to do with protecting "native" Red Squirrels from Grey Squirrels. There will be a number of events to encourage people to find populations of Reds.

Reds were on the brink of extinction in 1800 because of a loss of woodland habitat.

In 1844, Lady Lovat of Beaufort Estate near Beauly, succeeded in getting the government to re-introduce the squirrels to the Highlands.

By the 1900's, the squirrels had spread from the boundaries of the estates where they were released and were blamed for causing damage to Scots pine and other conifers. Does this remind me of another rodent with a bushy tail?

What is I guess amusing is that from 1903 - 1946 the Highland Squirrel Club had killed 102,900 squirrels and paid out £1,504 in bounties for Red Squirrels.

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