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Appy days for Anglesey's red squirrels

A new app for smartphones and tablets is helping to conserve Anglesey's red squirrel population.

North Wales' red squirrels faced extinction. Credit: Paul Spear

It lets people pinpoint where they have seen the loveable rodent. Others can then log onto the app and and find out where the squirrels are.

The app has been designed by Llandudno based firm Livetech.

Native red squirrels faced wipe-out from Britain before a conservation effort was launched on Anglesey two decades ago.

The success of the campaign is mostly down to a huge effort to control invasive grey squirrels, which were introduced to Britain from America in 1876 and carry a virus that's fatal to its red cousin.

As a result, the number of grey squirrels grew to 2.5 million while the red squirrel population fell to 120,000.

Now experts say the native reds are bouncing back - on Anglesey the population was down to as low as 40, but it’s now up to a healthy 700 and they're even spreading across the Menai Strait to Bangor on the mainland.

"The data collected through the app is very useful to us because it helps us keep track of where the red squirrels are going. We monitor distribution and abundance. If you go back 15 years hardly anybody saw a red squirrel on the island, but now people are spotting them more and more often."

– Dr Craig Shuttleworth, Director Red Squirrels Trust Wales



Tiny gecko found in Swansea couple's luggage

Credit: RSPCA Cymru

The RSPCA says a tiny gecko has made its way to Wales after hitching a ride in the luggage of a Swansea couple.

They were holidaying in Grenada in the Caribbean.

Credit: RSPCA Cymru

The couple contacted the RSPCA and the tiny creature is now in the care of an exotics specialist.

Credit: RSPCA Cymru

It is hard to identify it due to its size - as it is the size of a postage stamp. But it is some type of gecko - possibly a house gecko, but we don’t know for sure.

This wasn’t your day-to-day call - but it does happen and I have picked up a couple of similar things before that have been stowaways.

– Nic De Celis, RSPCA inspector

To release a non-native into the wild is an offence (under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981).

Cat's leg amputated after being caught in trap

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat was caught and trapped in an illegal gin trap, which resulted in the pet's leg being amputated.

The cat had to have a leg amputated says the RSPCA. Credit: RSPCA

The animal was discovered in a field at Bowdens Lane, Penhow, Caldicot, on 9th June.

Gin traps are designed to catch an animal by its leg, using spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge. The use of gin traps has been illegal in the UK since 1958, but some are still being used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes.

The illegal gin-trap used to catch the cat. Credit: RSPCA

It was horrendous - she is only a young cat. She would have been in so much pain. It was lucky someone found her.

– RSPCA Inspector, Gemma Black

Anyone with information is asked to call the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 123 8018.

Council takes dog owner to court over attack

A Welsh council has taken a dog owner to court after his Rottweiler was "dangerously out of control in a public place".

A Rotweiller dog. Credit: PA

Owain Rhys Lewis, 32, from Criegiau pleaded guilty to the charge at Cardiff Magistrates.

The incident involved his Rottweiler attacking a smaller breed when the dogs were in a local lane. The court heard the defendant had paid £1,100 to the owner of the dog that was attacked in veterinary fees.

The Magistrate ordered the dog to be muzzled and put on a lead no longer than three metres when in a public place. Owain Rhys Lewis was also fined £100, ordered to pay £475 in costs with a victim surcharge of £20.

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