Squirrelpox Vaccine


The red squirrel is on the verge of extinction in England and Wales. It is clinging on only because of the work done by volunteers, who are unpaid and unfunded by any offical sources. All volunteer groups rely on their own fund raising efforts.

Welsh red squirrels are in a particulary desperate state, being isolated pockets with no connections between them - island populations. The relentless spread of grey squirrels carrying the squirrelpox virus is the main threat. The virus is extremely contagious but greys are not affected by it. Reds that catch it will die in less than 14 days, a horrible distressing death. 

A contraceptive is being developed for the greys, and other interventions are being researched but not a vaccine. 

A petition has been created to present to the Welsh parliament in relation to this - requesting that research be carried out into a vaccine for the virus. It needs just over 2,000 signatures to be an automatic debate in the Welsh parliament. You do not have to reside in Wales to sign it - a vaccine will be of immeasurable benefit to the whole of the UK. It could provide a breathing space whilst other measures are deployed and at least give our reds a fighting chance. 

Please follow the link and sign it - we are fighting a rearguard action to save this iconic native mammal and it will only take a few minutes to sign this. There are other examples of vaccines for wildlife being deployed - rabies is a notable example.