Red squirrels making a comeback in Scotland
Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS), Scotland’s first campaign to save the red squirrel from further decline announced this week that red squirrels are beginning to return to parts of Scotland where they have not been seen for many years.
Mel Tonkin from Scottish Wildlife Trust is Project Manager for SSRS and said “Since our official project launch only one year ago, we have worked hard for our cause and it’s heartwarming to know that Scotland’s red squirrels and the communities lucky enough to still share the natural world with these amazing creatures are the ones beginning to reap real rewards.”
“As the first-ever project to tackle red squirrel conservation on a national scale, SSRS, in partnership with our sister project Red Squirrels in South Scotland (RSSS), co-ordinates work on the ground in key regions to strategically halt the spread of grey squirrels and the squirrelpox virus – the red squirrel’s two biggest threats. Today, we celebrate our success so far.
“In the North-East, thanks to a program of carefully planned grey squirrel control activity, we can report that red squirrels are now being spotted in areas of Aberdeen where they hadn’t been seen for several years. This indicates that grey squirrel control is necessary action which not only protects red squirrels from further decline but allows local populations to return to areas they inhabited before the arrival of the grey squirrel.
“Our successes continue in Tayside where more and more land-owners are committing to help us protect red squirrels by controlling grey squirrel populations on their own land and helping us to monitor its effect on red squirrels locally. The availability of financial assistance through the Scottish Government’s Scottish Rural Development Programme, has really helped us reach out and recruit this help.
“With our project soon to appoint a Project Officer for West Scotland and with our sister project, RSSS, continuing its important work to contain squirrelpox in the South, we now have all the tools in place to give red squirrels the best chance of retaining its place as one of the best-loved icons of Scottish wildlife for many years to come.”
The Scottish Wildlife is a charity partner of the People’s Postcode Lottery in Scotland. To date, Scottish Wildlife Trust has received over £853,936 from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. This funding is unrestricted, which is crucial in allowing the charity partners to invest funding where it is really needed.