A new appeal has been launched to help save red squirrels in the North of England.
The fund-raising appeal comes after research shows some red squirrel reserves are being overtaken by greys squirrels, and reds are also now subject to the squirrelpox virus, which can be deadly.
The campaign is being spearheaded by Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.
An urgently pressing threat was revealed after research done in April and May by RSNE volunteers. It showed that three of the nine red squirrel reserves in Northumberland are becoming heavily populated by breeding grey squirrels. This has put the much smaller remaining red squirrels in danger by out-competing them for food and spreading the deadly squirrelpox virus.
The reserves are in the Hexham in the Slaley areas in Northumberland. Northumberland Wildlife trust says that it is obvious that, without immediate action, the red squirrels in these three important reserves will be lost for good.
Nick Mason, RSNE Project Manager said: “Sadly red and grey squirrels cannot co-exist and without the efforts of land managers and local voluntary groups the red squirrel would already have disappeared.
“Hopefully this appeal will give the red squirrels some breathing space whilst we secure longer term funding to ensure a solution to the situation.
Nick concluded: “We really do appreciate whatever people can give in these times of economic uncertainty, but even though times are hard, we know that if we do not act now, something truly precious will be lost forever.”
The aim of the appeal is to protect and increase red squirrel populations in the Slaley area over the next five years. To achieve this, three full-time rangers will be employed to work in these reserves carrying out grey squirrel control and RSNE is asking for donations towards the cost of the project – no matter how small.
You can donate in a number of ways:
- Online: by credit or debit card at: www.nwt.org.uk/red-sqirrel-appeal-2012
- By post: by sending a cheque (with Red Squirrel Appeal marked on the back) made payable to Northumberland Wildlife Trust Ltd, and sending it to Freepost NT89, Garden House, St Nicholas Park, Newcastle, NE3 3XT;
- By telephone: on 0191 284 6884 where staff will take credit/debit payments.