Leprosy threatens Scotland's red squirrels

Squirrels with leprosy have been found in Southern Scotland which poses a further threat to the red squirrel population.

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Leprosy becomes new threat to red squirrel

Southern Scotland is a stronghold for red squirrels - it's one of the top populations for the endangered species in the country. Despite the numbers, they still face a number of issues such as loss of habitat, squirrel pox and now leprosy.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust are keen to empahsis it's not a massive problem, but our reporter Fiona McIlwraith went out to one nature reserve near Lockerbie to find out more.


Leprosy squirrels found in Scotland

The disease is fatal to infected animals. Credit: PA

Experts in Dumfries and Galloway are concerned about the discovery of red squirrels infected with the disease leprosy.

Scientists in Edinburgh have discovered cases and say the problem could become more widespread in our region.

Symptoms of the disease in our native squirrels include hair loss and severe swelling to the snout, eyelids, ears and feet.

The disease has no affect on humans but can be fatal to the infected animals.

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