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Ocr Biology B3-Animal Extinction

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Introduction

The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a species of tree squirrel (genus Sciurus). A tree-dwelling omnivorous rodent, the red squirrel is common throughout Eurasia. In Great Britain, numbers have decreased drastically in recent years, in part due to the introduction of the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from North America The red squirrel may have only ten years unless a vaccine is found to protect it from squirrel pox. Red squirrels have reddish-brown fur with a white chest and, in winter, they have characteristic long, red tufts of fur on top of their ears. ...read more.

Middle

At the moment the MP calls for support on the red squirrel. David Maclean, former Tory chief whip and MP for Penrith and the Border, said a select committee inquiry was needed because Government policy was in disarray, with Government departments and agencies north and south of the Scottish border pursuing different strategies, none of which were working. Grey squirrels, which carry the squirrel pox virus that is fatal to reds, recently caused the death of red squirrels at one of their last redoubts on the sands at Sefton in Lancashire, while in Cumbria, one of their last strongholds in England, the greys are advancing further into the reds' stronghold each year. ...read more.

Conclusion

The culprit is the squirrel pox virus - a fatal disease spread by grey squirrels and which is devastating the few remaining English red squirrels. Hundreds of animals are thought to have died in the last few months at their former stronghold on the Sefton Coast, Formby and many more are unlikely to survive the winter. The virus arrived in October last year. Within six months the number of red squirrels. In spring 2006 the reserve had around 1,000 red squirrels - a year later the number was down to 400. ...read more.

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