Grey Squirrel Threatens Reds At Mountstewart

The red squirrel (pictured above) at Mountstewart is threatened with the incursion of grey squirrels.

Strangford MP Jim Shannon has welcomed the attempt to catch and remove the grey squirrel in the Mountstewart estatate in Ards.

He said: “There has been a reduction in numbers of red squirrel across the UK and one of the clear evidential-based reasons is the presence of grey squirrels which carry a disease called Squirrelpox that is deathly to the Red Squirrel.

“We must protect our own indigenous red squirrel population and I am so thankful that the groundkeepers in Mountstewart are working hard to do this.

“I would also encourage DAERA to get involved and to help the National Trust at Mountstewart to catch any grey squirrel there and remove them sooner rather than later. The National Trust website cites Mountstewart as being one of the best places to spot the red squirrel and non-intervention would lead to further loss of red squirrels and extinction of red squirrels on the mainland within 35 years – and extinct in England around 10 years.

“We must actively work to promote good habitat to encourage the breeding of our own reds,” said Mr Shannon.