SciuriousLIFE - Sciuriosity - Evolving IAS grey squirrel management techniques in the UK.

LIFE14 NAT/UK/000467

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Cathleen Thomas
Tel: +44 1636 670037
Email: cthomas@wildlifetrusts.org

Project description:


The presence of the invasive alien grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in the UK is detrimental to several native species and the overall health and resilience of affected woodland ecosystems. The native Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is particularly threatened by grey squirrels, but to date there has been no clear pan to stem its population growth. A collaborative management framework that crosses administrative boundaries is required. Currently, the approach to grey squirrel management lacks coordination, focus and adequate funding. Anglesey is a 720 km2 island in North Wales from which grey squirrels have recently been eradicated.


The SciuriousLIFE project aims to:

  • Develop mechanisms to prevent the unintentional introduction of grey squirrels to currently uncolonised woodland landscapes;
  • Develop early warning/rapid response mechanisms to ensure Anglesey is not recolonised;
  • Develop rapid response mechanisms to mitigate the impacts of grey squirrels in urban woodlands with high biodiversity and tourism value; and
  • Develop early warning systems to detect grey squirrels in sparsely populated rural landscapes;
  • Develop more efficient strategic mechanisms to evolve community-based grey squirrel management;
  • Quantify the financial and community-based resources needed to achieve regional eradication;
  • Share knowledge gained across the EU;
  • Use knowledge exchange and trust building processes to aid the development of a broader IAS management;
  • Test the impact of measures to increase public awareness and community capacity associated with grey squirrel management; and
  • Inform the development of a long-term management framework for grey squirrels in the UK.
  • Expected results:

  • Prevention of Anglesey recolonisation;
  • Preventing grey squirrel colonisation of the largest network of grey squirrel-free woodlands on the English mainland;
  • An early warning system to prevent grey squirrel reinvasion in a 165 km2 section of County Gwynedd in north Wales, following grey squirrel eradication from 1 500 hectares of woodland habitat;
  • An early warning system developed to protect the largest network of grey squirrel-free woodlands on the English mainland;
  • Eradication of grey squirrels from 1500 hectares of woodland habitat within 165 km2 of the county of Gwynedd;
  • Eradication of IAS grey squirrels from a specific Northern Irish landscape unit through direct grey squirrel control and creation of a community-based early warning and rapid response network;
  • New urban IAS management communities in north Merseyside created to improve the sustainability of protection measures for Sefton coast woodlands;
  • New grey squirrel management by 50 private landowners across Northern Ireland;
  • Seven existing Northern Irish squirrel community groups supported to increase their membership by 10% from a January 2016 baseline;
  • Creation of three new grey squirrel management groups in Northern Ireland;
  • Four annual knowledge fairs held;
  • Three best practice guides published;
  • Four academic papers published in peer-reviewed journals; and
  • Increased public understanding of grey squirrel management.



Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Invasive species
Habitats - Forests


forest ecosystem

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • COM(2013) 620 final “Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on t ...

Natura 2000 sites

SCI UK0012923 Border Mires, Kielder - Butterburn
SCI UK0012946 Eryri/ Snowdonia
SCI UK0013076 Sefton Coast



Coordinator Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts is an umbrella organisation for The Wildlife Trust movement, providing leadership and giving trusts a strong collective voice. It drives the sharing of resources, skills and knowledge, as well as raising funds from national sources that can be distributed back to the individual conservation trusts.
Partners LWT(Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside), United Kingdom NWT(Northumberland Wildlife Trust Limited), United Kingdom UWT(Ulster Wildlife Trust Ltd), United Kingdom FR(Forest Research), United Kingdom RSTW(Red Squirrels Trust Wales), United Kingdom NU(University of Newcastle upon Tyne), United Kingdom


Project reference LIFE14 NAT/UK/000467
Duration 01-NOV-2015 to 31-MAR -2020
Total budget 2,699,565.00 €
EU contribution 1,619,741.00 €
Project location North(United Kingdom) Yorkshire and Humberside(United Kingdom) East Midlands(United Kingdom) East Anglia(United Kingdom) South East (UK)(United Kingdom) South West (UK)(United Kingdom) West Midlands(United Kingdom) North West (UK)(United Kingdom) Wales(United Kingdom) Scotland(United Kingdom) Northern Ireland(United Kingdom) Gibraltar(United Kingdom)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version