E-book on the Shared Experience of Red Squirrel Conservation Practice

RS-coverThe European Squirrel Initiative is delighted to have sponsored this ‘Red squirrel perspectives’ book. This is an important snapshot of the current situation and illustrates the breadth of conservation effort being carried out in our battle to save the red squirrel in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Each chapter demonstrates how diverse the projects are in terms of their geographic location, their size and their membership. We can see that wide and active partnerships are well established across the public, private and voluntary sectors to deal with the grey squirrel from a landscape level to virtual eradication in an urban situation. This book provides an excellent opportunity for us to share good practice and learn from each other’s good and bad experiences.

The e-book is available as a free PDF download (8MB) here>>

Squirrelpox Virus in South Lakeland

Sadly we have to report that cases of the squirrelpox virus have been found in Little Langdale, Kentmere and around the Grasmere area. This demonstrates just how important it is to keep red and grey squirrel populations apart. Grey squirrels are unaffected by the squirrelpox virus, but they pass it on to red squirrels where it can decimate a local red population, with infected red squirrels suffering a slow and painful death within a couple of weeks. Grey squirrels travel long distances looking for new territories so the disease could spread to other areas very quickly if not kept in check. Natural food isn’t as plentiful this year as last, another reason for squirrels to be on the move.

We expect some of the red squirrels to survive in the areas recently affected by the virus, and the populations to recover in future years, but we need to keep up our efforts to protect them. Our volunteers are working very hard to control the spread of grey squirrels  – this is not something we relish, but is currently the only way to ensure our red squirrels can survive here in South Lakeland. The practical and financial support from local residents and our members is vital for our work to continue, and if you can help in any way we’d be delighted to hear from you.

A red squirrel showing symptoms of squirrelpox virus

A red squirrel showing symptoms of squirrelpox virus

Please let us know immediately if you spot a squirrel which might have the squirrelpox disease. An infected red squirrel exhibits a slower/unsteady movement on the ground, when climbing, getting food and when eating. This gets worse as time goes on and they may stay around the area of a feeder or even inside it. They don’t run away quickly when a human approaches. If there are still healthy squirrels running about the contrast is more noticeable. There may be no visible marks to indicate squirrelpox, but often there are lesions and swelling around the eyes and mouth as shown in the photo – click on it to enlarge.

If you see a red squirrel showing signs of the disease, please contact us immediately on 07836 584201 or any of the other numbers on our Contact page.

All donations to help our red squirrels are most welcome, however small. You can donate here>>


Confor Woodland Show 2015

Confor full logo

The Confor Woodland Show 2015 is being held on 10 / 11 September 2015 on the Longleat Estate.  For full details, see the event flyer here>>

Q&A Panel: Species introduction

9.45 – 11.00 – 11 September 2015 in the Confor marquee

Chair: Dougal Driver

Introduction: Ian Gambles, Forestry Commission England

Panel: Jonathan Spencer (Forestry Commission); Emma Sheehy (Aberdeen University); Vincent Wildife Trust; Derek Gow; and, BASC.

Join Confor for a bacon butty and put your questions to the panel.  The subject of species re-introduction is one that arouses polarised opinions.  The moral argument is put forward that we exterminated these species so we should bring them back. Others note that they were exterminated for a reason, and that the factors that made them extinct in the first place e.g. habitat loss and hunting, need to have been dealt with before a re-introduction can take place. There is a legal side to it involving UN conservation body the IUCN, which requires member states to consider re-introducing species that have become extinct for, say, conservation management. This debate will focus on beavers for watercourse management and Pine martens for grey squirrel control.

2014 Red Squirrel Map for Cumbria

Red squirrel recorded presence 2014 north westRed Squirrels Northern England>> have produced a map showing where red squirrels were spotted in Cumbria during 2014.  Thank you all for taking the trouble to report to us when you see a red squirrel. Red Squirrels Northern England use the sightings data that Westmorland Red Squirrels and the other Cumbrian red squirrel groups pass on to them – these maps would not be possible without your help.  Click on the map to see it in more detail.

Reds at Rydal Hall

We’ve just been sent a YouTube video>> of a red squirrel on a bird table taken by one of the staff at Rydal Hall. This is very special to us, because back in 2011 there were no reds at all being seen in Rydal. Now there are 2 or 3 reds settled in the woodland close to the Hall.  Our thanks for the video and to everyone who has worked to make it possible.