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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 12:12 GMT
Red squirrels under 'grey' attack
Red squirrel
Red squirrels are threatened by the increase in grey squirrels
Angus residents have been drafted in to help protect red squirrels from a growing grey squirrel invasion.

The Red variety across Angus and Tayside is under attack from an invasion of greys which threaten habitat and food stocks.

Locals in Monifieth are being asked to log sightings of both species to help Tayside Red Squirrel Project.

Experts hope to contain the grey squirrel population before it reaches Angus Glens and parts of Perthshire.

Ken Neil, Tayside Red Squirrel project officer, said: "Dundee has a stable population of red squirrels that is constantly under pressure from the grey squirrels of Monifieth and Broughty Ferry.

We fear that it is just a matter of time before squirrelpox spreads north
Ken Neil
Tayside Red Squirrel Project

"The grey squirrels are larger, eat more and breed in larger numbers, so it can result in the red squirrels being forced out.

"An additional new problem is the spread of squirrelpox by the greys. This virus leaves greys unaffected but is deadly to red squirrels.

"For a long time its devastating effects have been confined to England and Wales, but since April this year, grey squirrels trapped in the Galloway area have tested positive for the virus and some reds have contracted it and died.

"We fear that it is just a matter of time before squirrelpox spreads north."

Residents of Monifieth and nearby Broughty Ferry are asked to help the project by registering sightings of squirrels of both species on the website.

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