Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biological invasions: arrival of red bellied squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus) to the city of Buenos Aires.

Abstract

The Asian squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus, commonly known as red-bellied squirrel, is one of the invasive mammal species of our Nation. The presence of this squirrel is causing various negative impacts on the environment and, as it is a "charismatic" species, it has expanded due to the anthropic action, giving rise to new populations within the province of Buenos Aires and in other three Argentinian provinces. Due to several notices received in the last years in the Universidad Nacional de Luján (UNLu), and because of previous studies, we proposed to confirm the presence of this species in Buenos Aires City (CABA), and also, to diagnose the progress of the insertion of the species through observations of forest patches, and by interviewing the local residents. The knowledge and opinions of the interviewees regarding this environmental issue, and regarding the possibilities of control of the species were also recorded. Between 2004 and 2015, there were seven independent events for the release or escape of squirrel specimens in CABA, four of them identified as new in this study. Three of these sites could be considered as incipient focus, with the possibility of growth and the respective negative impact in important forested areas. Only 12.5% of the 128 respondents demonstrated knowing this squirrel and the problems they cause. The 53% would agree to carry out some measures of control, as long as it does not involve the sacrifice of the animals. It is necessary to continue monitoring and move forward with communication and awareness measures to the local community to avoid the expansion through new displacements of the species.