Some might say it’s a bit “nuts,” but a leading wildlife expert has called for an assist for the squirrels of Limerick.
The suggestion follows the erection of signs at Friarstown, Ballysheedy – the first of their kind in Limerick – telling motorists: Caution Squirrels Crossing.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service recently informed Limerick City and County Council that a number of red squirrels had been knocked down in the area. As a result, the council approved the erection of temporary signs on the Fedamore road alerting motorists to the danger of red squirrels on the road.
“Permanent signs have been ordered and are scheduled to be erected by the council. A local land owner had expressed concern about the fate of the squirrels as well and we hope that signage will cause motorists to slow down and take them into account as other road users,” explained Tom O’Neill of Limerick City and County Council.
Red squirrels are one of Ireland’s most iconic, native mammals, but they are under severe threat, as increasing numbers of invasive grey squirrels compete for habitat and food, and transmit a deadly disease.
But many red squirrels are also killed by motorists, as they are now confined to small isolated patches of woodland.
“I’d say they are the first signs of their kind in the country,” commented the Limerick Leader’s wildlife expert Albert Nolan.
“It is a woodland area and the only way for the squirrels to cross is to come down and cross the road. When there are trees along the side of the road, the cones fall onto the road and they gather there and when a squirrel is feeding on them a car comes along,” he explained of the situation in Ballysheedy.