For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Red squirrels battling back against the greys in the North-East
4:54pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
A YOUNG squirrel accepts nuts offered by Gary Gallagher, one of a growing army of conservationists dedicated to saving the UK's native red species.
The red squirrel has dwindled in numbers to the point of extinction, ever since the introduction of its bigger cousin, the American grey, in the late 19th century.
Aside from being bullied out of their food supplies, the reds are at risk of being all but wiped out by squirrel pox, a virus which the greys carry but are immune to.
However, for the first time in 140 years the red squirrel is celebrating a resurgence.
Wildlife group Red Squirrel Northern England recently published a survey showing a seven per cent rise in the population levels in the north of England and an 18 per cent decline in the greys.
And the reversal of fortunes is thanks to the efforts of a dedicated "Red Army" of volunteers, like Gary Gallagher, who carefully monitor the reds, help feed and protect them, to ensure their survival.
RSNE project manager Nick Mason said: "We don't really know the figure for the grey population, but the estimate for England is between two to four million, compared to the reds, which is 10,000 to 15,000."
He said there were no longer any red squirrels in the south of England, but they are still found in Cumbria, Northumberland and parts of Scotland.
He added: "The figures for the last year show a hopeful picture for the reds for the first time in over 100 years of decline."
Comments are closed on this article.