07 March 2009

Putting squirrels on the map

Great Britain is having a hard time keeping its native, beloved red squirrels on the map, and unfortunately its assault continues unabated with the red's presumed assailant, the Eastern Grey Squirrel. Greys are an introduced (and non-native species) from across the Pond. This rather sorry conflict created all sorts of sadness and grief on both sides of the controversy.

But BBC home editor Mark Easton has found some happy middle ground. He recently posted on his blog at the BBC News web site, a way to keep the Eurasian Red Squirrel, personified by Beatrix Potter's saucy little Squirrel Nutkin, on the map. In this case it's a map of their native land, reflecting the change in their population, migration and growth.

It's pretty amazing stuff, because the same map can be used to chart the biodiversity of the whole United Kingdom, everything from scurius vulgaris (the red squirrel) to the growth patterns of native fungi. The makers of this map have crunched all sorts of data from a variety of sources, including the Save Our Squirrels effort, which is at the forefront of conserving the native reds.

Crunching data is a good thing - especially with respect to nut-crunching squirrels. The effort is admirable.

Now perhaps there should be another map - showing anti-grey squirrel factions and pro-grey factions - and a way to get everyone together to nonviolently solve the issue.


Cactus Jack Splash said...

Hope they can work it out to the squirrels' benifit

Poetikat said...

There oughta be enough area in Britain for more than one breed of squirrel. I have 3 or 4 breeds and half-breeds in my backyard alone, for Pete's Sake!


Totally Timmy said...

Awww. the red squirrels are so cute. I just love the colour of them!

merinz said...

When I was in the UK last, 3 years ago, I visited the island of Jersey in the British Channel.

A long ago relative of mine donated the land and began an animal shelter there which is now operated by the SPCA.

I visited the site, was given a tour and they proudly showed me some little orphaned Red squirrels they were caring for. They are beautiful little animals.

Apparently Grey squirrels were never introduced to the Island, so these timid creatures are thriving.

squirrelmama said...

You sure have NICE KIND LOVING relatives, I think it is great that this kind of gift can really help these squirrels.
What a privilege it must have been to see them. They do look so lovely, it must be nice to look out one's window and see them on a regular basis too.

Anonymous said...

I should email my friend about it.