The Science of reintroduction and conservation

 
Slide microscope image of a red squirrel ear that is infected with leprosy.

Slide microscope image of a red squirrel ear that is infected with leprosy.

 
 

The CRSP have been working with leading scientists working with red squirrels in the UK, to better understand the challenges that red squirrels face and how to best combat them.

The Cornwall Red Squirrel Project have been working closely with the Moredun Research Institute to understand possibly the most vital issue that red squirrels face in the UK today; the squirrel pox virus. The CRSP send regular samples from culled grey squirrels in the release zone to understand the infected population density, so far the results have shown that as the population of grey squirrels has decreased the population infected with the virus which is deadly to red squirrels has decreased also.

Scientists at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary have been working on the prevalence of leprosy within red squirrel populations and genetic analysis of red squirrels. Genetic studies analysis of red squirrel populations, identifying animals and sub-populations which are more resilient to threats such as the squirrel pox virus. Using this data a stronger population can be bred ahead of reintroduction giving the new colony a better chance of survival.