This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 16 °C Friday 20 September, 2019
Advertisement

Native Irish mammals in danger of extinction - study

The Irish hare, red squirrel and red deer are all in danger of being wiped out by invasive foreign species, according to new research.

Image: don_macauley via Creative Commons/Flickr

A NUMBER OF animals native to Ireland will face extinction if foreign species invading the country are not controlled, according to new research.

The Irish hare, red squirrel and red deer are all in danger of being wiped out by invasive foreign species, according to the study.

A two-year research project on so-called “invasional meltdown”, by scientists at the Queen’s University Belfast, looked the introduction of two species now thriving in Ireland. It found that since the introduction of the greater white toothed shrew, Ireland’s native pygmy shrew had completely vanished in areas where the foreign species lives.

Similarly, native wood mouse numbers have dropped by 50 per cent in places where the foreign bank vole is now fully established.

“The introduction of alien mammals to Ireland over the last 100 years has had major detrimental effects, threatening our indigenous habitats and species,” said lead researcher Ian Montgomery. “The American grey squirrel, for example, passes a deadly virus to native red squirrels, whilst European hares threaten the ecological and genetic integrity of the native Irish hare through competition and interbreeding”.

Montgomery urged Governments in the Republic and Northern Ireland to work together to address the overall problem of invasive mammals throughout Ireland, and ensure that “we understand both the mechanisms of invasion and the impacts of these aliens.”

The study is published in the international scientific journal Biological Invasions

Climate change is ‘shrinking’ animals>

Irish scientists discover new life beneath the sea>

Extinction of ocean life is ‘speeding up’>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (27)