Eradication of an invasive Pallas's squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus population in Flanders (northern Belgium)

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    Abstract

    Despite a growing catalogue of eradication projects, documented successful
    vertebrate eradications on the mainland remain scarce. Reporting on successful
    campaigns is crucial to counter pessimism on ambitious programmes to tackle
    invasive species and to allow conservation practitioners, wildlife managers and
    scientist to learn from previous experience. Moreover, there is a need for basic
    information on the effectiveness of control methods and management strategies
    that can be used. In this note we report on a successful low-tech eradication
    campaign of a local population of Pallas’s squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus, a
    species of tree squirrel with documented ecological and socio-economic impacts
    in its invasive range. The population was eradicated from a suburban park of
    about fifteen hectares using baited mesh wire life traps, in five consecutive
    capture campaigns between October 2005 and January 2011. Using maximum
    likelihood estimation from catch-effort data we calculated initial densities in
    the park at 3 squirrels ha-1. Although control started quickly and the extent of
    the invasion was limited, the campaign took over five years and required an
    estimated investment of over €200,000 including 1,5 years of post-eradication
    surveying. We provide basic data on the methods used to eradicate this invasive
    rodent. Critical success factors and possible improvements with respect to the
    specific context of this case are discussed. Adding this species to the list of
    species of EU concern currently under development could provide incentive to
    minimise impact of this tree squirrel at the continental scale.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Thematic list

    • Mammals
    • Invasive species (management)
    • Invasive species (nature management)
    • Invasive species (species diversity)
    • Invasive species (fauna management)

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B003-ecology
    • B005-zoology

    Taxonomic list

    • mammals (Mammalia)
    • rodents (Rodentia)

    Policy

    • species directed nature management

    Geographic list

    • Atlantic Flanders
    • West Flanders

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