Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Manx red squirrel introduction plan axed

red squirrel Image copyright PA
Image caption Red squirrels are not classed as endangered species

Red squirrels will not be introduced to the Isle on Man after the government ruled it would be "detrimental" to the countryside.

Plans to introduce the non-native species for the first time were unveiled earlier this year.

A public consultation revealed some wildlife experts claimed it could have a "devastating impact", while many others favoured the idea.

The government said there were "no conservation grounds" to proceed.

'Impact on habitats'

Environment minister Richard Ronan said after all opinions were listened to he concluded it would be "detrimental" adding: "We have decided not to proceed at present."

More than 100 people responded to the consultation.

A spokesman for the Manx Wildlife Trust said their introduction could have a "devastating impact on habitats already battling with environmental pressures".

Wildlife experts stated the red squirrel is not in danger of extinction in the UK and see no scientific basis for creating a refuge for it.

Grey squirrels were introduced to the United Kingdom from North America in the 19th Century and have since threatened their red cousins.

This is primarily due to competition for habitat and the transmission of the deadly parapoxvirus.

While red squirrels are not classed as endangered, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust in the UK claims they could disappear within a decade without conservation.

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