Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lessons from History.

Invasion by the Grey Squirrel has virtually annihilated the native Red Squirrel in the UK. The Red Squirrel being the UK native.

Grey Squirrels were introduced by humans to the UK for several decades starting from about 1876. Greys can feed more efficiently and can survive at densities of up to 8 per hectare. The density of reds is up to 1 per hectare but can be as low as 0.1 per hectare. The native species cannot compete against the invader in population growth or survivability. The Grey Squirrel has evolved to survive against predators and environmental issues not found in the UK where the Red Squirrel has evolved for the local conditions.

Once the Grey is established the Red Squirrel cannot compete and dies out.

The bad news is nothing has been done about this until it is almost too late. The good news is that it is legal to shoot the Grey Squirrels, they are classed as pests, and the Red Squirrel is making advances in certain areas of the UK. Mainly in the North.

Trying to think of a situation where that analogy fits. It's a tough one.

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

Just something to think about. Why should animal history not be worth learning from?


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