Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why did the squirrel cross the road?

29.08.2008
A study has proved that red squirrels can and do make use of special crossings set up over busy roads.

A researcher from the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences conducted a survey to discover whether red squirrels living in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park were using rope bridges installed by a local wildlife group.

This kind of bridge is usually installed at sites where there have been fatalities recorded but up until now no-one has collected any data to show whether or not they are actually used by the animals.

Stephen Lockwood, who is completing a masters’ degree in biodiversity and conservation, took specialist training in tree climbing so that he could to set up equipment to record the squirrels’ movements. In addition to using cameras he also used tubes filled with nuts and sticky tape to gather hairs and clay moulds to record the animals’ footprints.

He says: “This isn’t just about cutting down on the number of squirrels killed on the roads. We also know that when a natural habitat becomes fragmented, such as by the introduction of unnatural barriers like roads, there is a lesser chance of the species surviving in the long term because the opportunities for breeding are fewer. The bridges hopefully encourage the squirrels to explore a wider area and therefore lessen the chance of inbreeding. By finding out whether they actually use these bridges we can assess how useful it is to install them.”

Ruhi Thallon, from the Cowal Red Squirrel Group, which commissioned the survey, says: “An SNH grant for rope bridges was successfully applied for by the local community of Strachur and two have been erected across the main road there but we needed to find out how cost-effective they were before spending any more money putting them up at other sites. When we looked into it we were surprised to discover that no one has ever really tested the efficiency of these bridges. The research that Stephen from the University of Leeds has now carried out should help us make our case when we apply for funding for future projects.”

Having analysed his findings, Stephen has now concluded that the creatures are definitely using the bridges, but that it is important to put them in the right place. He says, “In areas where there is a high population of squirrels then the new bridges we put up were being used within a couple of days, not surprisingly we also found that baiting the bridges with food also encouraged the squirrels to use them. This kind of information has never been collected before and it could now be used by other wildlife conservation groups or even by developers when considering plans for new road-building projects that cut through squirrel habitat.”

David Blakeley, from the Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology at the University of Leeds, feels this has been a very worthwhile project: “Our Masters programme in Biodiversity and Conservation provides us with an opportunity to conduct the kind of research that could have a real impact on British wildlife, this project is just one example.”

Sally Cooper | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

Further reports about: Biodiversity Conservation ROAD Wildlife road-building squirrel

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht ECG procedure indicates whether an implantable defibrillator will extend a patient's life
02.09.2019 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane
14.08.2019 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Analysis of Galileo's Jupiter entry probe reveals gaps in heat shield modeling

17.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Creating miracles with polymeric fibers

17.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Synthetic cells make long-distance calls

17.10.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>