Mathematical Modelling Tools for Red Squirrel Conservation
Since its introduction into the UK, c1900, the grey squirrel has replaced the native red squirrel throughout most of England and Wales, and in parts of Scotland and Ireland. There is strong evidence that grey squirrels are superior competitors in many habitats and also that a shared virus, squirrelpox, plays a critical role in red squirrel decline. ODE and PDE frameworks, parameterised to represent the red/grey/squirrelpox system, will be examined to understand the impact of squirrelpox on red and grey squirrel population dynamics and the spread of squirrelpox following grey invasion. Squirrelpox is endemic in grey populations in England and Wales but has only recently been reported in Southern Scotland. A spatial, individual based version of the model will be outlined and used to assess the spread of squirrelpox through squirrel populations in Southern Scotland. These findings are being used to inform current red squirrel conservation policy.