Red squirrels need your help

Red squirrels need your help

The Wildlife Trusts are leading the largest-ever recruitment drive for red squirrel volunteers.

With the help of National Lottery funding, the Trusts aim to increase volunteer numbers from 500 to 5,000 to help save the UK’s last red squirrels.

Volunteers will work with partner organisations in their local area, logging squirrel sightings, monitoring feeders for reds, setting up camera traps to film their behaviour, controlling grey squirrel populations in key areas, and teaching the public and schoolchildren about our native species. Tasks include speedy reporting of grey squirrels moving into areas which are currently strongholds for reds, and the first of this year’s surveys starts on March 1.

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Data about sightings will contribute to the work of Red Squirrels United, a UK-wide network set up to protect the reds, and to the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project. Red Squirrel United Programme Manager Dr Cathleen Thomas says, “In most of the UK there are only a handful of refuges left for red squirrels; without help, experts predict this beautiful and treasured creature could be extinct within as little as 35 years. Since greys were introduced into England in 1876, red squirrel populations have dramatically declined. It is now thought there are less than 140,000 red squirrels left in the UK.”

Find out more at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/news/2017/02/24/vital-volunteers-needed-save-our-last-red-squirrels and check out the list of local conservation groups seeking volunteers at www.redsquirrelsunited.org.uk/volunteering If you can’t volunteer because you live outside the remaining red squirrel zones, you can help by adopting a red squirrel at https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/how-you-can-help/adopt-species/adopt-red-squirrel

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Steve Ott

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