Citizen scientists called to play their part in Ireland’s red squirrel revival


Researchers from NUI Galway are wanting for folks to submit illustrations or photos of purple and grey squirrels they discover in urban spots to the Nationwide Biodiversity Facts Centre’s website.

A group at NUI Galway is primary a survey-based mostly exploration project that aims to get the community involved in citizen science and city wildlife conservation.

Researchers are asking the public to record sightings of red and grey squirrels in towns, cities and urban parks as aspect of a bid to revive the native crimson squirrel population in Ireland.

Pink squirrels are presently becoming displaced by the greater, invasive gray squirrels. Grey squirrels ended up launched to Eire in 1911 and they have produced survival ever more difficult for crimson squirrels.

Not only do they contend for foods and distribute ailments, grey squirrels also seem to thrive and look for refuge in city locations, in accordance to recent studies. Some surveys carried out given that 2007 have revealed that the red squirrel population might be recovering, having said that.

NUI Galway researchers are nevertheless involved that stories of grey squirrels thriving in urban spots may well hinder red squirrels. They have launched the City Squirrel Survey to get the public’s assist in tracking the conduct of both kinds of creature.

The survey will operate through the 12 months, and is getting carried out by PhD student Emma Roberts and Dr Colin Lawton, lecturer in wildlife ecology and conservation biology in NUI Galway’s Faculty of Normal Sciences.

Lawton said they would “rely on the enable of the community, our citizen experts, to present us with facts from their local parks and gardens”.

“Previously, surveys have been wanting for squirrel documents in all parts of Ireland, but this year we are concentrating on urban regions, to emphasize the growing relevance of these habitats to our wildlife and to see if they will continue being a stronghold of the invasive grey squirrel,” he additional.

Grey squirrel with trees and foliage in the background.

Gray squirrel. Graphic: Gillian Day

According to Roberts, “With the spread of urbanisation, parks and city eco-friendly spaces are turning out to be vital habitats for squirrels. By being familiar with where by the two species take place in urban spots, we can program conservation steps to shield our indigenous red squirrel.

“Red squirrels need a woodland to stay in, so it can be complicated for an urban area to accommodate these animals. By investigating their distribution in city parts throughout Eire, we can examine the likelihood of their continued survival in certain places and reestablishment in some others.”

The researchers are doing work with the Heritage Council’s National Biodiversity Info Centre. This source gives an on-line portal for citizens to document biodiversity data in Eire. It has beforehand been associated in bee conservation initiatives and profiling Irish natural habitats.

The squirrel research is largely centered on urban parts in Galway, Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Derry, Limerick and Waterford.

For recommendations on how to file sightings of squirrels for the project, see the Countrywide Biodiversity Data Centre’s internet site.

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