South Scotland

Solway coast squirrelpox outbreak extends its reach

Red squirrel Image copyright Getty Images

A squirrelpox outbreak on the Solway Coast has spread deeper into south west Scotland.

Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels (SSRS) said it was "sad news" that the disease had managed to extend its reach.

A sick red squirrel has been sighted at Gatehouse of Fleet, more than 20 miles from the original outbreak between Palnackie and Carsethorn.

The public has been asked to remove all wildlife feeders from gardens to try to halt the spread of the virus.

Squirrelpox - which is carried by grey squirrels but is deadly only to reds - has been in the region for more than a decade.

SSRS reported the latest outbreak in the area in May this year and has been trapping and killing greys to try to stop its spread.

However, cases in red squirrels have still managed to move further west.

People in the affected area have been asked to take any feeders out of their gardens until the outbreak has passed.

They have also been urged to report any sightings of sick squirrels to SSRS as quickly as possible.

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