Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Charity joins the national fight to rescue red squirrel

MAY 26TH, 2015 - 12:01 AM JANICE BURNS

Three quarters of the UK’s remaining population of red squirrels is found in ScotlandRSPB Scotland has joined the fight to save the red squirrel from extinction by becoming part of a pioneering project.

The wildlife conservation charity has joined forces with five other charitable, government and landowning bodies in a bid to secure the future of the iconic woodland mammal.

The red squirrel is the UK’s only native squirrel and numbers have declined rapidly since the introduction of grey squirrels from North America in the 19th century.

Since 1952, 95 per cent of red squirrels in England and Wales have been wiped out, and today 75 per cent of the UK’s remaining population is found in Scotland.

However, greys still threaten the existence of the native reds because they compete for food and habitat, and transmit the deadly squirrelpox virus.

The Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project aims to continue to prevent the spread northwards of grey squirrels and squirrelpox through a programme of grey squirrel control in a zone running coast to coast along the Highland Boundary Fault.

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