Releasing grey squirrels into the wild

Anthony W Sainsbury, Andrew A Cunningham, John Gurnell, Peter Lurz, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


There is a strong body of scientific evidence firmly establishing a combination of squirrelpox disease outbreaks and competition with grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) as the cause of decline of red squirrels in mainland England, Scotland and Wales.

A series of serological, experimental, spatial and temporal epidemiological, translocation and modelling studies has shown that grey squirrels are the reservoir for the squirrelpox virus and that the rate of decline of red squirrel populations is estimated to be 17 to 25 times higher where squirrelpox virus is present in grey squirrel populations compared with populations where squirrelpox virus is absent.1–5 There is a reduction in the recruitment of young red squirrels into the population where red squirrels and grey squirrels share the same habitat.6
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number23
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jun 2019


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