DCSIMG

Total of red squirrels stays stable

Jean Mitchell, from the Friends of Pegswood Community Woods. Picture by Katy Cook, Red Squirrels Northern England

Jean Mitchell, from the Friends of Pegswood Community Woods. Picture by Katy Cook, Red Squirrels Northern England

A three-month survey in the region has shown the number of red squirrels has remained stable over the last two years.

This is in contrast to a trend of more than a century of decline in nationally.

This is the fifth monitoring survey run by the Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) project over the last three years.

Community volunteers and project staff found red squirrels in the same number of sites as during the autumn 2013 programme, despite seeing an increase of nine per cent in the number of sites with non-native greys.

Reds continue to fare well where communities are working together to conserve them, such as at Pegswood Community Woods near Morpeth.

Jean Mitchell, of Friends of Pegswood Community Woods, said: “We have been feeding and monitoring our reds regularly and we have seen an increase this year with two new kits.

“And in south east Northumberland there are some fantastic colonies in the urban centres of Ashington, Cramlington and Bedlington.

“We have had support from the community and we start our ‘Adopt a Red Squirrel’ scheme in September.”

The conservation efforts and monitoring producing the results are supported by Biffa Award, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nurture Lakeland, Furness Building Society, Forestry Commission and many other committed partners.

Nick Mason, RSNE project manager, said: “Our broad conservation community is growing ever more certain that this high quality science is reflecting the positive impact of sustained hard work.

“Hundreds of people working together, with appropriate investment, are conserving this beautiful animal for two million northern English residents to enjoy on their doorsteps.

“This investment must continue to maintain this success.”

The results - which can be found at www.rsne.org.uk/squirrel-monitoring-programme - continue to inform conservation effort across northern England and the monitoring programme will run again in spring 2015.

 

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