25.4.18

The Squirrels Of Fuerteventura

Typically found in Morocco, Algeria and the Barbary Coast of Western Sahara, the Barbary Ground Squirrels can now also be found in Fuerteventura after being introduced to the island back in 1965.
Although not at first introduced as free roaming animals, a local resident bought a pair to the island as pets and somehow one escaped and it is presumed that the other was then set free.

In a few short years they had bred, and more residents had brought the squirrels/chipmunks to the island as pets and after a short amount of time the number of squirrels on the island increased massively. The squirrels were also found on other Canary Islands but were soon brought to a stop, however with the numbers in Fuerteventura now in their thousands there is little they can do to reduce this.

We loved seeing the Squirrels, especially as they were so cute and really quite friendly and tame (which they would be as they were technically begging for food most of the time). We had a quick Google after seeing a few around on our first day and saw that to locals they are considered as vermin.
There are various signs around the island at tourist spots asking to not feed the squirrels as the authorities don't want the numbers to grow any more.
The squirrels are considered as invasive and do cause damage to the island in terms of beauty spots and habitats as well as historical sites too.

We were fascinated by them though and couldn't resist at one point sitting down at a water tower at the Salt Museum and being surrounded by them. Although now looking back, I'm sure it would look, to locals, the same way anyone would here if they were sat surrounded by dirty rats.

Still....look how cute they are.


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