Last week I was fortunate enough to visit one of the last enclaves of the UK’s native Red Squirrel, the original “Squirrel Nutkin” of Beatrix Potter fame. Sadly, the Red Squirrel is declining in numbers, down to a population of about 140,000 mainly in Scotland, that it now classified as an endangered species. This is largely down to the North American “Grey Squirrel” with a population of about 2 million, that carries the virus parapox, deadly to our native Red Squirrels. There is also competition for food and nesting sites, which inevitably the slightly larger Grey Squirrel always wins, further causing the decline of the Red Squirrel.
The Grey Squirrel was introduced to Great Britain in the mid-19th century. At the time it was fashionable to have Grey Squirrels running around and after many releases at Woburn Park, Bedfordshire. the Grey Squirrel began to increase dramatically at the beginning of the 20th century, spreading rapidly across England, Wales and parts of Southern Scotland.
So there you have it, two opposites, one who is decimating the population of the other. However steps have now been taken to conserve the native Red Squirrel, making sure that the Grey does not intrude.
Here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge:
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Shoot ‘N Go Weekly Photo Challenge- Opposites