The ecology and conservation of the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in an urban environment

Hamill, K.R.J., 2023. The ecology and conservation of the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in an urban environment. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Urban growth and intensification are rapidly increasing on a global scale, altering the available habitat for wildlife and driving many species to decline. Urban areas were historically disregarded as suitable wildlife habitat; however, they can be biodiverse if managed appropriately as many species have the behavioural flexibility to adapt to these environments. This research investigates the ecology of an urban-adaptable species, the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), using Formby, Merseyside, as a case study site. Chapter One provides background information and a systematic literature review regarding the biology, causes of decline, and urban ecology of the red squirrel. Chapter Two examines the red squirrel population in Formby (population demographics, distribution, and abundance), using data collected during live-capture trapping and long-term datasets from the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. Chapter Three assesses the resources and risks for the red squirrels in the study site (supplemental feeding, habitat quality, and mortality threats, as identified in Chapter One), using data collected from a public survey, seed crop abundance surveys, and post-mortem examinations. Chapter Four analyses the impact of these resources and risks on the home ranges of the red squirrels, using data collected through radio-tracking and spatial analyses using a geographic information system. Overall, the findings indicated a high-density population, particularly in the adjacent peri-urban woodlands, which has suffered from two squirrelpox virus outbreaks in 2007/08 and during this study in 2018/19. The peri-urban woodland squirrels were found to have small home ranges, suggesting they did not have to move far to access resources within the high-quality woodland habitat, whereas the urban squirrels had larger home ranges that suggest they had to travel further to exploit the scattered urban greenspaces. Therefore, the population may be at risk if urban intensification leads to the loss of the remaining greenspaces, as well as risks from future disease outbreaks. Finally, in Chapter Five, conservation management strategies are recommended to benefit the red squirrels in the study site and other strongholds, as well as urban wildlife more broadly.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Hamill, K.R.J.
Ward, S.Thesis
Bates, A.Thesis
Date: October 2023
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 28 Jun 2024 11:20
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 11:20

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