The issue of squirrels has recently had some media coverage and so I thought it worthwhile to give some background.
A few key facts:
- Pine martens are associated with success for the red squirrel.
- Red squirrels are recovering a lot of territory in Ireland they had lost to greys in tandem with the recovery of pine martens.
- Red squirrels were (re-)introduced to Howth some decades ago.
- Greys have been moving in which puts the reds at risk.
My conclusions from this, which I will put to the SAAO Management Committee, are that the only reasonable and justifiable actions in relation to squirrels would involve encouraging/reintroducing pine martens, if these are practical.
Much of the Howth peninsula is covered by a Special Amenity Area Order. The Management Committee, made up community, recreational and conservation representatives along with local councillors, works within the terms of the order to protect the biodiversity, landscape and amenity of the peninsula.
BBC Costing the Earth podcast Reds Return http://www.bbc.co.uk/
NUIG Research: https://www.
facebook.com/ IrishSquirrelAndPineMartenProj ect;
Vincent Wildlife Pine Marten Recovery Project (Wales, England): http://www.pine-
The case for pine marten reintroduction to control grey squirrels: https://www.
theguardian.com/environment/ 2015/jan/30/how-to-eradicate- grey-squirrels-without-firing- a-shot-pine-martens
Red Squirrel Species Action Plan 2008 https://www.npws.ie/sites/
Irish Squirrel Survey 2012 https://www.npws.ie/