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Endangered red squirrels brought back from the brink in Madrid’s Retiro Park
30 December 2018 @ 19:44

HYDE Park and Central Park are replete with them, and Madrid’s Retiro Park was overrun with them 20 years ago – but now, trying to catch sight of them in the latter is about as easy as witnessing the Aurora Borealis from the Pyrénées.

Squirrels are no longer an endangered species in the green lung of Spain’s largest city – they’ve disappeared altogether.

Well, about five are believed to be living in the Retiro, but compared with their heyday at the end of the last century, the giant squirrel city back then has shrunk to a tiny village.

The Friends of the Retiro Association says around 145 were released into the park in the late 1990s and they not only thrived, finding abundant sources of food, but bred non-stop, multiplying their population several times over within months.

But cats, dogs and magpies roaming the huge urban garden have not turned out to be squirrels’ ideal neighbours: they chase them, scare them off and even kill them.

So, with the help of the Friends of the Retiro, Madrid city council is now working on reintroducing squirrels to the park.




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