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Keywords:

  • biogeography;
  • dispersal rates;
  • Ireland;
  • range expansion;
  • Sciurus carolinensis;
  • Sciurus vulgaris

ABSTRACT

The distributions of the Red and Grey Squirrel were surveyed in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between 1994 and 1996. Survey methods differed between the two studies. In the former, all suitable habitat, of at least 15 ha, was inspected for species presence or absence. In the Republic, data were gathered through questionnaires to governmental and independent wildlife bodies. The combined results indicate that the Red Squirrel remains widespread and locally abundant, and is present in all but two counties. The Grey Squirrel is now more widespread than ever before, and can be found in 22 of the 32 counties. Its range expansion has varied from 0 km/yr to an estimated 13.4 km/yr, as various geographical features, principally rivers, have hindered its progress in certain directions.