Volunteer for Red Squirrel Conservation
Did you know how much the red squirrel population is outnumbered by the grey squirrel?
Red squirrels have been in the UK for 10,000. Back in 1876, the grey squirrel was introduced from North America.
The grey squirrel is larger than the red squirrel and more robust. They digest seeds more easily. And they also transmit the squirrelpox virus which infects red squirrels and causes them to die of starvation or dehydration.
The grey squirrel population has now risen to about 3 million. The red squirrels number 140,000 in the UK, of which 75% are in Scotland.
The key to the survival of the red squirrel is to be kept apart from the greys so that they have a chance of surviving.
There are a number of groups around the UK helping the red squirrel population to grow and thrive. And they need volunteers.
Red squirrels need you!
Red Squirrels United is the largest ever partnership of academics, practitioners and volunteers working on a scientifically robust programme of red squirrel conservation.
The partnership focuses on 9 main stronghold areas of red squirrel populations across Northern Ireland, England and Wales.
There are all sorts of volunteer opportunities from helping to put up camera traps and feeders to enthusing the public and children about red squirrels and show them how they can help.
The groups also need to know where people have seen squirrels, so that they can plan the conservation work they need to do and monitor any changes in squirrel populations and range.
There are groups in the north of England, mid and north Wales, Northern Ireland and of course there are groups in Scotland.
If you don’t live in an area where there’s a volunteer group, you could still help by adopting a red squirrel and you can sign up to receive the newsletter from Red Squirrels United.
Red Squirrel Conservation in Scotland
With Scotland being home to 75% of the red squirrel population in the UK, there’s a website for everyone there at Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels
Ways to help in Scotland include:
You could also support the Trees for Life Red Return Appeal by which the charity Trees for Life are hoping to reintroduce red squirrels into up to 8 new forests. They’ve already successfully done this in 6 others and red squirrels have been seen in local forests and gardens, and they’ve also been breeding. Find out more here