Managed parks as a refuge for the threatened red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in light of human disturbance

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dc.contributor.author Butler, Fidelma
dc.contributor.author O'Riordan, Ruth M.
dc.contributor.author Palme, Rupert
dc.contributor.author Haigh, Amy
dc.date.accessioned 2018-02-12T12:28:29Z
dc.date.available 2018-02-12T12:28:29Z
dc.date.issued 2017-05-12
dc.identifier.citation Haigh, A., Butler, F., O'Riordan, R. and Palme, R. (2017) 'Managed parks as a refuge for the threatened red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in light of human disturbance', Biological Conservation, 211, pp. 29-36. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2017.05.008 en
dc.identifier.volume 211 en
dc.identifier.startpage 29 en
dc.identifier.endpage 36 en
dc.identifier.issn 0006-3207
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/5441
dc.identifier.doi 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.05.008
dc.description.abstract As the invasive grey squirrel continues to spread, red squirrels are dying out. The result may be isolated populations in managed parks, where access can be controlled. However, recreation can often have a negative effect on wildlife, reducing the conservation potential of parks. Fota Wildlife Park receives over 300,000 visitors each year and is located on an island that is currently free of grey squirrels. We examined the effect of visitors on the existing red squirrel population. Sampling was conducted in the presence and absence of the public. Ten trapping sessions took place from March 2013 to 2014 and faeces were collected to examine stress levels. Squirrels were observed to concentrate their activity in non-public areas and move into public areas when the park was closed. Radio tracked squirrels, from the adjacent gardens (intermediate disturbance), also used habitats in the wildlife park (high disturbance) when it was closed but returned when the park had opened. When squirrels were observed in public areas, visitors were only visible on 15% of occasions. Levels of faecal cortisol metabolites (FCM) were highest in areas where human disturbance was greatest. However, there was no correlation between visitor numbers and the stress levels of squirrels. FCM levels were however, positively correlated with density of squirrels. The fact that high numbers of squirrels continued to utilise the wildlife park demonstrates that managed parks could provide an important reserve for the maintenance of the species, as long as non-public areas are accessible. en
dc.description.sponsorship Irish Research Council and Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland (Enterprise Partnership Scheme EPSPD/2012/313) en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Elsevier Ltd. en
dc.rights © 2017, the Authors. This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Biological Conservation © Elsevier Ltd. after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.05.008 en
dc.subject Glucocorticoids en
dc.subject Invasive species en
dc.subject Reserves en
dc.subject Wildlife park en
dc.title Managed parks as a refuge for the threatened red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in light of human disturbance en
dc.type Article (peer-reviewed) en
dc.internal.authorcontactother Amy Haigh, School Of Bees, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. +353-21-490-3000 Email: ahaigh@ucc.ie en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.date.updated 2018-02-02T12:33:34Z
dc.description.version Submitted Version en
dc.internal.rssid 424211181
dc.contributor.funder Irish Research Council en
dc.contributor.funder Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.journaltitle Biological Conservation en
dc.internal.copyrightchecked Yes en
dc.internal.licenseacceptance Yes en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress ahaigh@ucc.ie en


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