Survey work carried out by Red Squirrels Northern England has revealed the range of the endangered animal has remained stable over the last two years. In north Northumberland, red squirrels continue to do well between Wooler, Bamburgh and Berwick thanks largely to committed local conservation efforts.
John Rae from local group ‘Save Our Squirrels Berwick’ said: “This spring we used feeders and cameras to monitor 13 sites as part of the RSNE project. Yet again we are finding woods being repopulated by reds where previously we have found only greys, which is fantastic news! We are privileged to have the Kyloe red squirrel reserve in our area.”
This is the fifth monitoring survey run by the Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) project over the last three years.
Community volunteers and project staff found red squirrels in the same number of sites as during the autumn 2013 programme, despite seeing an increase of 9% in the number of sites with non-native grey squirrels. Increases in grey squirrel detection were expected following a mild winter and seemingly abundant wild nut and berry supply.
This serves a as stark reminder that the future of the red squirrel on the English mainland is entirely in the hands of committed individuals, groups and organisations currently working together to conserve reds by managing intermingled non-native grey squirrel populations.
The group hopes local communities can help it learn more about the size and health of these potential populations over the next six months, and encourage people to report red squirrel sightings on its website at www.rsne.org.uk/sightings
The conservation efforts and monitoring producing these fantastic results are supported by Biffa Award, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nurture Lakeland, Furness Building Society, Forestry Commission and many other committed partners.
Nick Mason, RSNE Project Manager, said: “Our broad conservation community is growing ever more certain that this high quality science is reflecting the positive impact of sustained hard work. Hundreds of people working together, with appropriate investment, are conserving this beautiful animal for 2 million northern English residents to enjoy on their doorsteps. This investment must continue to maintain this success.”