About Red and Grey Sightings

If You Find a Sick or Dead Red Squirrel

If you come across a sick or injured red squirrel, or if you find a dead red squirrel showing signs of disease or one that does not seem to have died in a road accident or from another obvious injury, please contact us immediately on 07836 584201 or 01539 552340 or try the other numbers on our contact page>>.

If you find a red squirrel killed in a road accident or by some other obvious injury we’d still like to hear about it. Please report it as a red squirrel sighting, with an explanatory note in the comments section.


About Red Sightings

Your sighting reports help us to track progress as red squirrels reclaim their old territories, and to check that they are still present in areas where they are already established. Without your help this would not be possible – red squirrels are not easy to spot, and we can’t monitor all the places that you know and visit. You can see our annual red squirrel sighting maps showing where red squirrels have been reported here>>

If you see red squirrels regularly in one place, we’d be very grateful for a sighting report about every 3-6 months, and to hear if anything unusual occurs – two seen together can indicate a breeding pair, three or more might be a young family.

Red squirrel recorded presence 2014 north west

We circulate your red sightings reports within our group: to those working in the area of the sighting and to others with an interest – for example, if it’s in an unusual place.  You may be contacted for more information about your sighting.

All red squirrel sighting records are collated and forwarded anonymously to Red Squirrels Northern England to be included in the regional database, and we put a red marker for your sighting on our current annual red squirrel sighting map, but not including your personal details.

Red Squirrels Northern England combine sightings data supplied by all the local voluntary red squirrel groups with data from their own monitoring programme and their own rangers to inform the science of red squirrel conservation, including maps showing recorded red presence. This 2014 map shows recorded red presence in Cumbria. Click on the map to see it in more detail.

If you have red squirrel photos to share, we’d be delighted to see them. Quality is not important as long as you can see it’s a red squirrel, and we’d appreciate your permission to use them in our publicity – please email to:  sightings@westmorlandredsquirrels.org.uk


About Grey Sightings

Your grey squirrel sighting reports help us to build a picture of what is happening and prioritise our work.  How we can react to your grey sighting information very much depends on where your sighting is, the time of year, whether we have access to land and other factors – and the situation is ever-changing.

We are particularly interested to hear where grey squirrels are being seen regularly over a period of time – from single squirrels visiting gardens through to larger numbers occupying areas of woodland or similar.

Reports of grey squirrels spotted just once add to our knowledge of the ever-changing grey squirrel situation, and are of particular importance where grey numbers are very low – for example in the Rydal, Loughrigg, Elterwater area, or in other areas where they are not normally seen. Contact us if you would like to know more about what’s happening in your area.

All grey squirrel sighting reports are forwarded immediately to the relevant area co-ordinator within our group, and someone from our group may contact you for more information. Depending on where you saw the squirrel, we may include your grey sighting in our records which are then collated and forwarded anonymously to Red Squirrels Northern England to be included in the regional database and inform the science of red squirrel conservation.  We may produce maps and statistics based on grey squirrel sightings, but no personal data is included.

If you live locally and can help us by keeping an eye on the grey squirrel situation around where you live, or in woods that you visit regularly, we would be very pleased to talk to you.


Your Personal Data and Squirrel Records

When you submit a squirrel sighting report, we need your name and contact details (email and/or phone number) because:

  • We need to be able to check, if necessary, that it is a genuine squirrel sighting and not from someone making false reports
  • We may need to contact you about your sighting
  • Some sightings need to be verified before they can be accepted in the regional database

When we receive them, your sightings reports are firstly circulated internally to selected people within our group to inform our conservation work. This will usually include the area co-ordinator who covers the location of your sighting and others who may have a specific interest in your sighting. Sometimes we will need to contact you about your sighting.

If your sighting is outside our Westmorland Red Squirrels area, we will pass on your report to the appropriate voluntary red squirrel group within our umbrella group, Northern Red Squirrels. There are 13 different voluntary red squirrel groups covering most of Cumbria.

Part of our conservation work involves contributing towards the science of red squirrel conservation, and sighting reports play an important part in this. We therefore retain in-house records of your sighting reports, including the personal details you have supplied, for as long as is necessary for this purpose.

We collate sighting reports we receive and send the records monthly to Red Squirrels Northern England for inclusion in the regional database, and we circulate them within our group and with other conservation partners. These collated sightings records are in an anonymised form and do not contain your personal details. Both we and Red Squirrels Northern England  produce maps and statistics based on the collated records, but again, no personal details are included.

Red Squirrels Northern England may ask us for verification of a squirrel sighting. This is usually when a red squirrel sighting is in an unexpected location, and can be at some time after a sighting report was submitted, which is why we need to retain your contact details. We can usually anticipate from the location of the sighting whether verification will be required, in which case we will contact you immediately after you have submitted your sighting.  Very occasionally Red Squirrels Northern England may want to contact you themselves, in which case we will pass on your sighting report to them, including your personal details.

Verification is something we have to do in order to maintain the integrity of our records, and is routinely done for other conservation species’ data, so please be understanding if we do contact you for verification purposes.

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