In The News

Squirrelpox threatens the Red Squirrel population near Dumfries

Several suspected squirrelpox cases have been reported to Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels in Heathall Forest. Squirrelpox is a disease that is fatal to Red squirrel, the invasive Grey Squirrel has the ability to carry and pass on the disease without being affected by it. Bird and squirrel feeders can help spread this disease in areas where Grey and Red Squirrels can be found as they both will come into contact with it. Symptoms of squirrelpox are, weeping lesions on their face or paws that in time stops them from being able to eat/ drink.

If you see any squirrels that you suspect may have squirrelpox please report it to Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels at: https://scottishsquirrels.org.uk/squirrel-sightings/

 

Fossil found that may help illustrate the origin of spiders

The remains of what could potentially be an early form of arachnid was found in Myanmar, preserved in amber for 100 million years. They believe that this species had the ability to weave silk but they are unsure on the purpose of the tail.

This specimen dates back to the crustaceous period. Scientists have decided to call this specimen Chimerarachne yingi. The research on this interesting fossil has been published in Nature Ecology and Evolution as two individual papers that identify and describe the species. Four of these fossils have been found already, researchers think they lived around the base of tree trunks and my still be alive today.

 

For more information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42945813

 

Have you seen a glow worm?

The common glow worm (Lamphyris noctiluca) can be found all over the UK and you can normally see them glowing from June- August. However, in recent years there have been fewer records of glow worms seen in Scotland and scientists aren’t sure of the population found in Scotland.

How can you help?

We need you to record and submit any sightings you see, this will help to make a map of distribution in Scotland. To enter your sighting fill in this online form: https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/glow-worm

 

For more information go to: https://www.buglife.org.uk/activities-for-you/wildlife-surveys/scottish-glow-worm-survey

Lasers to be used to stop sea eagles attacking lambs

Lasers are to be deployed against sea eagles on Scottish farms and crofts in a move aimed at preventing the huge birds preying on sheep.

White-tailed sea eagles have been successfully, and controversially, reintroduced to Scotland since the 1970s, with the population currently standing at an estimated 106 breeding pairs.

According to sheep farmers and crofters in several parts of the country the birds are not only taking large numbers of lambs but also threatening rural livelihoods. However a recent report by the RSPB ‘Wildlife at Work’ estimated that ‘eagle tourism’ contributes up to £5 million to the economy of the island of Mull alone each year with other areas of Scotland also reaping the benefits of these majestic birds.

This method is one that is being trialled by Scottish Natural Heritage(SNH) and if successful could be used in future as part of a range of options to protect livestock. The laser beams create patterns on hillsides and fields which disorientates the birds and makes they fly away from the areas where livestock are being kept. The lasers cause the birds no harm and can be used to deter other predators from preying on farm animals.

What do you think?

How do you think this Environmental Management issue should be tackled?

What is the best solution?

 

Lack of records on Mountain Hare numbers

Thanks to Scottish Natural Heritage, new population monitoring methods have recently come to light to help count the number of Mountain Hares (Lepus timidus) in Scotland. We know very little about their conservation status. Despite not knowing a lot about the population of Mountain Hares, unregulated culling of the species does occur.

However it’s not all bad news; now an agreed method of counting Mountain Hares, hopefully there will be a national survey put in place ready for autumn.

For more information check out:

https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/news/clearer-information-still-needed-mountain-hare-numbers/

https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/002_433__livinglandscapesinthescottishuplands_june2016_1467796221.pdf

https://www.nature.scot/sites/default/files/2018-01/Publication%202018%20-%20SNH%20Commissioned%20Report%201022%20-%20Developing%20a%20counting%20methodology%20for%20mountain%20hares%20%28Lepus%20timidus%29%20in%20Scotland_0.pdf

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