House of Lords debate - 13.02.2020
Threats from pests and diseases to native trees
Follow the House of Lords debate on threats posed by pests and diseases to native trees in the UK. The Earl of Kinnoull will certainly be raising the issue of grey squirrels to support his roles as Chair of both the UK Squirrel Accord and Red Squirrel Survival Trust. We hope the serious issue this invasive species causes to tree health through bark stripping will be a hot topic for discussion.
The debate starts at around 11:30 and can be watched live or later via Parliament TV.
Update: this important debate was a real success, with 14 of the 24 speakers highlighting the issue of grey squirrel damage to trees and the need to find humane solutions to the problem. Read our blog to find out more.
Red Squirrel Appreciation Day Twitterstorm - 21.01.2020
Join UK Squirrel Accord, Red Squirrels United, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels and others for a Twitterstorm on 21 January, 12:00-14:00, using the hashtag #RedSquirrels2020. Use the hashtag during this time to send your own tweets and like and share those of others.
Join us and spread the message that the UK’s red squirrels are worth saving. Help us get more people interested and involved in red squirrel conservation across the UK.
@SquirrelAccord on Twitter
Update: the Twitterstorm was a great success, thanks to everyone involved. At its peak #RedSquirrels2020 was trending fifth in the UK with #RedSquirrelAppreciationDay.
Grey squirrel gene drive research – UKSA response – 06.01.2020
UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) response to the recent article in The Times regarding a gene drive concept to reduce grey squirrel numbers.
The above article refers to a funded 3.5-year PhD that will start at the University of Edinburgh in September 2020. UKSA is aware of the research but has not provided any funding or involvement in its development, as we are concentrating on our oral contraceptive research. UKSA is being kept updated by the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI) through its own involvement in this genetics research and as ESI is a UKSA signatory.
The PhD itself will scope the feasibility of using gene drives to reduce grey squirrel numbers using theoretical modelling and cell work under laboratory conditions. UKSA will form an authoritative opinion of this work following the publication of any results and comprehensive discussions within the partnership, much of which is unlikely to be until end of the research in 2024. At this time the UKSA oral contraceptive delivery system for grey squirrels should be in operation.
“This project will design and model several sex-ratio distorting gene drive approaches for controlling the invasive Grey Squirrel in the UK. These gene drive strategies will then be developed in Grey Squirrel cells to demonstrate our ability [to] engineer these systems. The outputs from this project will be used to make real-world decisions on the potential of gene drives for controlling the invasive Grey Squirrel in the UK.”
National Tree Week - 23.11.2019 to 01.12.2019
Trees are vital for wildlife like red squirrels, they clean our air and water, they sequester carbon, provide timber, reduce flood events, increase soil fertility and prevent erosion, and much more. Trees and woods are also shown to have great mental and physical health and wellbeing benefits for humans.
During National Tree Week, can you help to increase tree and woodland cover in the UK? There are lots of planting events you can get involved in or you might find space for a tree in your garden. You could also help raise awareness of the importance of trees, spend time enjoying a walk in the woods or join your local Tree Warden network.
New State of Nature 2019 report - 04.10.2019
Invasive non-native species are highlighted as one of the greatest drivers of environmental damage, says the latest State of Nature report. Grey squirrels are an invasive non-native species threatening red squirrel survival, tree health and woodland vitality.
The report states that “on average 10–12 new non-native species become established in the UK annually, and 10–20% of these cause serious adverse impacts”.
UK Squirrel Accord is researching an oral contraceptive for grey squirrels to offer a non-lethal and effective management method for this established invasive non-native species. Could you help us reach our funding target? Donate online to support.
Red Squirrel Awareness Week 2019 - 23.09.2019
Happy Red Squirrel Awareness Week to everyone. During this week, 23-29 September, get out to see a red squirrel, join one of the events occurring around the UK, help to raise awareness of the plight of the red squirrel or do something else to celebrate their existence in the UK.
Read our latest blog post for more information on what is happening this week.
UKSA newsletter out now - 19.09.2019
Our latest UK Squirrel Accord newsletter is available to read and download from our resources library. It includes the launch of the new UKSA website, our photography competition, Red Squirrel Awareness Week and the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey.
Access our newsletter here.
Photography competition - 06.09.2019
To celebrate the launch of our new website, we are running a photography competition to add images to our new gallery. We are looking for images of red and grey squirrels, bark stripping damage, conservation tools (e.g. feeders and nest boxes), healthy trees, volunteers and land managers in action, and woodland settings.
The deadline for entries is midnight on 04 October 2019. Winners will be announced the following week and prizes allocated. Please email or WeTransfer your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to submit any images please make sure you are happy for them to be added to our image gallery and used royalty-free for media purposes. Our terms and conditions require anyone using images from the gallery to credit the relevant photographer.
Postponed - further details to be announced
Threats posed by pests and diseases to native trees in the UK - 02.09.2019
House of Lords debate - 05 September 2019
On 05 September 2019, the Earl of Kinnoull, Chair of the UK Squirrel Accord and Red Squirrel Survival Trust, has secured a debate in the House of Lords on threats to our native trees from pests and diseases. We envisage this will be a productive debate on the current situation and positive changes that could be made. Further information, including a list of speakers, is available on the parliament website.
Follow the UK Squirrel Accord Twitter feed for updates on the day: www.twitter.com/SquirrelAccord