Monitoring and control of grey squirrel
To intervene effectively one of the first steps is the knowledge of the current situation. The project intends collecting updated data on size and distribution of the grey squirrel in Lombardy (Action A.1), Piedmont (Action A.2) and Liguria (Action A.3). At each site of documented presence of the grey squirrel data will be collected through direct observation and the use of hair-tube and photo-traps.
The method consists in attracting the animals inside tubes that contain bait (hair tube, or hair traps). At the entrance of the tubes pieces of double-sided tape are attached. When the animal enters the tube, it brushes against the tape, leaving hairs attached that are useful for subsequent laboratory analysis that will lead to the identification of the species which has explored the tube. The technique is non-invasive, does not cause any disturbance to wildlife and helps verifying new file sightings. On the basis of the monitoring results a general management plan will be produced (General Management Plan, Action A.5) that will provide information about the best strategy of action to be taken at each site of presence of grey squirrel to achieve removal or at least control of the population (Actions C.1, C.2, C.3).