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Eastern Grey Squirrels Environmental Impact in Europe

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Eastern Grey Squirrels Environmental Impact in Europe

The Eastern Grey Squirrel is the largest tree squirrel in the world. It's predominately found in North America and its favorable habitat includes large forests with vast amounts of hickory and oak trees, which provides a habit of plentiful food supply and agility from predators. The Eastern Grey squirrel's increasing population throughout Europe has produced a growing concern for the environment because the invasive specie has dominated the local native red squirrel and is causing a negative economical impact to the agricultural environment.

The Eastern Grey Squirrel is an invasive species that was introduced to northern Italy's Candiolo Park in 1948. Since the arrival in Europe, The population of the Eastern Grey Squirrel has become out of control and has spread to cover an area more than 450 km2. It has quickly dominated the habitat for the Red Squirrel and is causing economical damage to agricultural crops and trees.

The environmental problem the eastern grey squirrel is causing is mainly focused on the gnawing of bark off tress, which can kill or slow the growth of trees. The bark on a tree acts a protective layering towards invaders, without the protective bark the inner growth rings of trees are exposed. The absence of bark on the trees can lead to bacterial infections and makes trees vulnerable to outsiders. The eastern grey squirrel removes the bark 30cm above ground, which allows other small predators to further, enhance the environmental damage that was initially caused (Maslovat, 2003).

The Eastern Grey squirrels have also contributed to growing problems all over Europe because of its competition with the native Red Squirrel. Red squirrels are susceptible to a potentially fatal viral disease known as Parapox. Parapox is a virus that can be carried and spread by grey squirrels, but the Eastern Grey squirrel appears to be immune to the disease. The intense competition for food and habitat has lead to the damaging of gardens, crops, and enhanced further competition of various species such as birds. The Eastern Grey Squirrel competes against birds for nesting purposes in trees, and the majority of the time the Eastern Grey Squirrel plays the dominant role in this competing process (Maslovat, 2003).

What can be done to control and reduce the problem of the Eastern Grey Squirrel throughout Europe? One management measure that is being done to control the invasive Eastern Grey Squirrel in Europe includes cage trapping. This process helps control the populations by not allowing the squirrels reproduce and continue its overwhelming expansion and degradation of the environment throughout Europe. Other measures include reporting sighting of nests and multiple numbers of the invasive specie to the organizational group known as (CEDaR). CEDaR is a service that was established by the International Society for Environmental Protection. The CEDaR program allows individuals to report



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