Grey Squirrel Control

Our native red squirrel is at significant risk of being displaced by the introduced American grey squirrel. The larger grey squirrel can easily outcompete the red squirrel for resources such as food and habitat. The grey squirrel is also more successful at breeding and producing larger litters of young. The presence of the squirrel pox virus in grey squirrels, who are carriers and immune to the virus, has fast become a more serious and deadly threat to the future of native red squirrel. Grey squirrels are rapidly increasing in number and are expanding their range across Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Squirrel Forum (NISF), of which the FRSG is a member, takes the view that red squirrel conservation is only possible where grey squirrel control is carried out as part of the management prescription for red squirrels.

Attached are two documents on the topic of grey squirrel control. The first is a Code of Practice (CoP) developed by the NISF and which members have been consulted on and agreed to. We are aware that dispatching any species is an issue that demands careful consideration and methods of practice that are amongst other things, humane and ethical. All members of the FRSG are required to adhere to all NISF Codes of Practice and procedures. In addition, members need to attend trapping training organised either by the FRSG or the NISF. As the threat to red squirrels from the squirrel pox virus is very real and deadly, traps are also subject to good hygiene practices to prevent to spread of the virus.

The information on grey squirrel included here is for information purposes. We would ask that anyone intending to manage grey squirrels contact either the FRSG or the NISF to ensure that everything is being done following best practice. It is also very useful for the groups to know where management is occurring and the outcomes to perhaps support other conservation efforts that may be happening in the area.

NISF’s Further information regarding feeding station & trap hygiene

NISF’s Code of practice pdf

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