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Tuesday 13 December 2011

BBC News - Concern over squirrel pox at Culzean Country Park

Red Squirrel

"Concern is growing for Scotland's red squirrel population after a case of deadly squirrel pox was confirmed at Culzean Country Park in Ayrshire."

"The virus was found in a grey squirrel, which is unharmed by the pox, but can pass it on to red squirrels.
Until now, cases had largely been confined to the far south of Scotland.
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) said the presence of the pox virus in Ayrshire "represents a concerning leap to the north".

Squirrel pox was detected at Culzean by NTS rangers and staff from the Red Squirrels in South Scotland Project. It was later confirmed by expert testers."
The disease is almost always fatal to Red Squirrels. It causes lesions around the mouth, nose and eyes similar to Myxomatosis in Rabbits and usually kills the squirrel in 7 to 10 days.

Click the link below to read the rest of the story.

The squirrel pox virus (squirrel parapoxvirus) is believed to be transmitted from grey to red squirrels by parasites in dreys and by contact at feeding sites. 

Because of the latter, people are being advised not to provide squirrel feeders in areas where red and grey squirrels are both present.

Read a full report about this by clicking the link below.

Lesions to the eyes, nose and mouth of a red squirrel, caused by the squirrel pox virus

Friday 9 December 2011

Scottish Wildcat (Felis sylvestris grampia)

Click here to visit the Scottish Wildcat Association
I mentioned before that I was planning to get more involved in Scottish Wildcat conservation and this winter I will be setting camera traps in the hope that I can gather evidence of their presence.

In late summer 2010 I witnessed a large cat stalking a hare at night which, at a distance, looked very much like a wild cat; but there was no way of establishing if it was pure bred, hybrid or a feral cat.

I've also seen foot prints and faeces on several occasions since which lead me to believe they are about in this area.

The Scottish Wildcat Association is charitable organisation dedicated to protecting and conserving Britain's only remaining wild feline and through their wildcat haven project are working hard, not only to improve this cat's chances of survival long term but also its population expansion into areas from which it has disappeared.

Click here to visit the Scottish Wildcat Association

If you care about the plight of the Scottish Wildcat you can help either as a volunteer or with fund raising by becoming a member of the association.
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.