Following on from the discovery in Mauchline of 2 grey squirrels found to be carrying the squirrelpox virus (seropositive), the Red Squirrels in South Scotland (RSSS) project is looking for volunteers to help establish the levels of pox carrying grey squirrels in and around the area. The project is limited in the resources it has and would be very grateful to anyone who is able to assist in trapping and dispatching grey squirrels and taking blood samples from them (all equipment to be provided).
It is paramount the project is able to contain the presence of these virus carrying grey squirrels. If they are allowed to travel further north into the central belt of Scotland and mix with our 'clean' non virus carrying grey squirrel populations, the red squirrels in this area will be seriously threatened with the possible loss of these red populations.
The RSSS project not only needs to control the presence of any pox carrying grey squirrels, but it is imperative they also find out how far these populations have travelled in order to take the required action.
Prior to this find, the furthest north the project had discovered pox carrying grey squirrels was at Thornhill. The presence of these greys in Mauchline represents a huge leap to the north and drastic action is being sought to prevent them from entering further into central and northern Scotland.
Anyone willing to assist should contact Karen Ramoo at RSSS who will be able to provide the necessary equipment, instructions for taking blood samples and paperwork. This will be posted direct to all volunteers.