What conservation work did Red Squirrels United carry out?
Red Squirrels United was the first UK wide network working together to secure the future of red squirrels.
The project’s practical conservation work focused on early warning monitoring systems and squirrel surveying to enable grey squirrel management to be carried out effectively in woodlands. It aimed to prevent grey squirrels from entering woodlands that are only inhabited by red squirrels.
The project protected nine red squirrel strongholds across the UK in Wales, England and Northern Ireland and worked together with Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels to ensure a joined up approach to red squirrel conservation across the whole of the UK.
Gwynedd: The Isle of Anglesey is the only Welsh county that does not contain grey squirrels following successful eradication. 60% of Welsh red squirrels are now found on the island and they are beginning to recolonise mainland woodlands. Red Squirrels United supported a new grey squirrel control effort in Gwynedd to prevent grey squirrels from recolonising the island and to allow the red squirrel population to expand.
Clocaenog forest once held the largest population of red squirrels in Wales, but numbers have dramatically decreased. Red Squirrels United focused on community engagement to raise awareness of red squirrels and increased the presence of red squirrels in the area through grey squirrel population management.
Tywi forest holds the last remaining red squirrel population in south Wales. Red Squirrels United increased the presence of red squirrels in the forest through grey squirrel population management and raising awareness of red squirrels through community engagement.
Kielder, Uswayford and Kidland forests are the only grey-squirrel free woodlands in England. Red Squirrels United targeted their conservation work in this area to prevent colonisation of these woodlands by grey squirrels and protect red squirrel populations.
Formby: This isolated red squirrel population has expanded to the edges of Liverpool, Southport and Scarisbrick, greatly reducing their vulnerability to extinction. Red Squirrels United managed grey squirrel populations in this area to benefit these red squirrels.
Mourne mountains: It is likely that grey squirrels have entered this area from the north, as the Mourne Mountains and the sea form a natural barrier in other directions. Red Squirrels United worked to eradicate grey squirrels from the Mourne Mountains to provide a refuge for red squirrels.
Glens of Antrim: Red squirrel conservation is carried out by volunteers in the Glens of Antrim. Red Squirrels United provided them with additional support to enable continued grey squirrel management.
Fermanagh holds the most westerly population of red squirrels in Northern Ireland. Red Squirrels United raised awareness in this area through community engagement and supporting local volunteer groups.
North West of Northern Ireland: Red squirrel populations remain in Derry and Strabane. Red Squirrels United recruited volunteers to help with red squirrel conservation and provided support to establish local red squirrel groups.