Oh no! Large fluffy fox squirrel threatened by sea level rise

I work for an environmental non-profit, and I know all too well the hazards of escalating carbon emissions and the resulting climate change.

English: 1993-2010 sea level trends(mm/year). ...

Sea level rise: you’re awful. This is data for 1993-2010 sea level trends (mm/year).

Extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy. Ocean acidification wreaking our coral reefs. A shrinking polar ice sheet. Rising sea levels consuming coastlines. Lots of sweat at inappropriate times.

But I had no idea any squirrels were under threat, too. Precisely, the totally adorable yet oddly named Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Already endangered — thanks to its range that overlaps with some of the most populated areas on the planet (the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard) — this poor sub-species of the American Fox Squirrel doesn’t have the best long-range prognosis for survival.

Yes, it does look a lot like other squirrels. Not at all fox-like, except for the tail, perhaps.

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Yes, it does look a lot like other squirrels. Not at all fox-like, except for the tail, perhaps?

Delmarva Fox Squirrel (Chincoteague NWR)

Seek higher ground, squirrel friend. (Chincoteague NWR) (Photo credit: stinkenroboter)

Sigh. Well, anyway, here’s the details:
Delmarva animal among most threatened by sea-level rise, group says

Endangered U.K. Red Squirrels Developing Immunity to Virus?

Finally, a bit of good news for the dwindling red squirrel population in the United Kingdom: They may be making a comeback, thanks to increasing immunity against a deadly squirrel pox virus.

We’ve been covering the red squirrel dilemma for a long time (which has involved slaughtering and eating grey squirrels so as to reduce their invasive population — they are immune to the virus) so any good news is a sight for sore squirrel bloggers’ eyes.

Brilliant or Barmy? Town Plans Road-Bridge to Save Red Squirrels

Beloved red squirrels in the U.K. are in rapid decline, so I guess any effort (within reason) to save them is a good idea. One town in Scotland is planning a large highway overpass specifically for red squirrels and other wildlife. Says the Scotland on Sunday paper:

“A 375ft red squirrel bridge is planned to cross a new dual-carriageway to protect the animal from heavy traffic….Earlier this month, SNP environment minister Michael Russell said the red squirrel was an increasingly rare sight, “but as an iconic species we must do everything we can to protect them”.

But, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. In fact, someone thinks it’s downright “barmy.” (?)

Henry Irvine-Fortescue, the 16th generation of his family to own the estate, said the idea was “barmy”. “The planting cover is also going to have to be very good or the squirrels will be exposed to predators. It will be like delivering them on a plate to passing buzzards. Also I’m not quite sure how you get them to use it. Will there be a sign saying ‘squirrels this way?’

Read the full article here: 300ft bridge to save Tufty Club

Squeamish Squirrel Lovers: Don’t Read This

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the U.K. is embroiled in a big squirrel controversy. The native red squirrels are being squeezed out by the grey squirrels, which were imported from the U.S.

There has been all sorts of suggested solutions to keep red squirrels from dying out, but this latest one is really taking it pretty far: A butcher is selling grey squirrel meat for about $6.82 a squirrel. Turns out people feel more ethical when eating grey squirrels, and it’s becoming quite popular.

“”I wasn’t sure at first and wondered how many people would really eat it. Now I take every squirrel I can get my hands on,” said David Ridley, who runs Ridley’s Fish and Game shop in Corbridge, Northumberland.  “I’ve had days when I’ve managed to get 60 of them and they sell straight away. Squirrel meat is moist and sweet because it’s diet has been berries and nuts.”

The meat, which is said to taste like a cross between lamb and duck, is also low in fat.

Read the full article, here: Big Demand for Squirrel Meat

U.K. Rock Star Loves to Kill Squirrels

Mark E. Smith, of the cult band The Falls, admitted to brazenly killing squirrels in his backyard several weeks ago.

Now he’s being investigated, since red squirrels in the U.K. are endangered. It’s not known which type of squirrels he was slaughtering.

His quote:

“Squirrels mean nothing to me. I killed a couple last weekend actually. They were eating my garden fence.

“My sisters are animal lovers and they had been leaving food out for these squirrels. They’ve got rats in the bloody house now. Serves ’em right.”

He also went on and on about killing seagulls. (I understand how seagulls can be annoying (and a little gross) but I don’t think I have any right to kill them.)

The full story.

Deadly Pox Discovered Among Threatened Welsh Red Squirrels

Squirrel lovers in the U.K. have been rightly upset for the past few years, as grey squirrels from the U.S. have started to push out the native red squirrels, which are smaller, cuter and generally more loved among Brits (Squirrel Nutkin being a favorite storybook character).

Now the news of a deadly pox virus — of course, from the greys — is setting off more alarms.

Charles Dutton of the European Squirrel Initiative, said, “This outbreak once again highlights the continuing threat posed to red squirrels by the invasive North American grey squirrel. The squirrel pox virus is carried by grey squirrels, which are immune to the disease. However once a red squirrel picks up the virus, the animal will die within two weeks.”

Difficult Choices: Squirrels on the Pill, or Squirrels in Your Casserole

Squirrel Nutkin

This headline, from U.K. Daily Mail, will not exactly improve the public image of bad British food:

Squirrels on the pill? Put the pests in a casserole!

Sadly, grey squirrels are prolifically proliferating across Great Britain, leading to a host of problems, including, says this columnist, the decimation of “our indigenous red squirrel – the original Squirrel Nutkin (shown above), which is far prettier and much less aggressive than the grey.”

One solution is birth control. This columnist’s other idea is to eat them. Although I have given up vegetarianism, I still can’t stomach the idea of eating squirrel meat, even if it’s baked into a casserole. But I understand his fretting — it’s not good to have an introduced species wiping out other squirrel species and other flora/fauna.

The columnist insists “the meat tastes like a cross between chicken and rabbit…”

Only in the U.K. would they make a taste comparison to rabbit. Another creature I’ve never eaten, and don’t plan to.