Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife
and Natural Habitats

Standing Committee

Recommendation No. 114 (2005) of the Standing Committee on the control of the Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and other alien squirrels in Europe

(adopted by the Standing Committee on 1 December 2005)

The Standing Committee of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, acting under the terms of Article 14 of the Convention,

Having regard to the aims of the Convention to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats;

Recalling Recommendation No. 78 (1999) of the Standing Committee on the conservation of the Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in Italy;

Recalling Recommendation No. 99 (2003) of the Standing Committee on the European Strategy on Invasive Alien Species;

Noting that the Grey squirrel has established a population in the wild in the Ticino valley and surrounding areas;

Noting that the Grey squirrel is likely to further spread in the next decades over a large part of Europe, causing both economic damage to forests and also impacts to other native biological diversity, including damage to forest species and changes of biocenoses, and that its spread will probably lead to the extinction of many populations of the native Red squirrel,

Recommends that Contracting Parties:

1.    encourage international and national institutions to support and fund further studies into the impacts on forests, Red squirrels and other biological diversity caused by the Grey squirrel and into efficient control measures;

2.    request Parties to apply measures preventing the introduction of alien squirrel species addressing relevant pathways such as trade and tourism; to be particularly attentive to detect new introductions in order to apply justified and species specific rapid interventions, such as eradication, especially in the very early stages of introduction;

Further recommends that Italy:

3.         urges the authorities of the Ticino valley, in particular the Ticino park, to start without delay an eradication programme on the Grey squirrel, following the guidelines developed by the Instituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica (INFS) and the Italian Ministry of Environment, so as to prevent its expansion to Switzerland and other neighbouring states.