Research underway to trace the steps of urban squirrels

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Research, which aims to better understand how grey squirrels use the urban environment, will take place in Aberdeen this year.

The study is being led by Dr Louise de Raad, Research Fellow at Inverness College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, in collaboration with the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project.

The study aims to highlight the habitat preferences, movement corridors and home range size of grey squirrels in Aberdeen.

Researchers will monitor the movements of 10 grey squirrels between late March and July using VHF radio and GPS tracking. The research is funded by Forestry & Land Scotland and will be carried out under a special licence from NatureScot.

Dr Louise de Raad said: “This exciting research will make use of the latest GPS tracking equipment that has become small enough to be fitted to grey squirrels.

“This will allow us to gain a much better understanding of grey squirrel ecology in a semi-urban environment and investigate what their preferred habitats are, how large their home ranges are, how far they travel in a day and whether they make use of movement corridors.

“This will inform best practices for grey squirrel population control and make a significant contribution to red squirrel conservation.”

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