Wight Squirrel Project Newsletter – Autumn 2016

Leprosy on a red squirrel’s ear

Leprosy on a red squirrel’s ear

Leprosy in red squirrels is a recent discovery, not because it is a new disease but because nobody had picked up on it before. As it is widespread, from Scotland to the Isle of Wight and Brownsea, it’s likely it has been around in red squirrel populations for centuries. When I started working with red squirrels 25 years ago I noticed some had ‘warty ears’ but thought no more of it as they bred and seemed well in other respects. It takes a long time for the disease to progress so most animals would die of something else before the leprosy really took hold.  Read more>>

Invitation from Red Squirrels Northern England

Red Squirrel Conservation Gatherings 2016


This has been a busy year and we would like to invite you to our Red Squirrel Conservation Gathering events for a chance to catch up and meet like-minded folks. There will be two events:

Red Squirrel Conservation Gathering – North West

Saturday 5th November, 10am – 2pm

Shap Wells Hotel

Lunch provided – please let us know of any dietary requirements when you book your tickets.

Please click here to see an agenda for the day and to book your tickets. Booking essential as places are limited.

Please contact Simon O’Hare by email ​or by calling 07748 269260 if you require further information.

Red Squirrel Conservation Gathering – North East

Saturday 12th November, 10am – 2pm

Stannington Village Hall

Lunch provided – please let us know of any dietary requirements when you book your tickets.

Please click here to see an agenda for the day and to book your tickets. Booking essential as places are limited.

Please contact Heinz Traut by email or by calling 07887782835 if you require further information. 


Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership Red Squirrel News – Autumn 2016

MWRSP-logoGood news has been received over the summer – the European Commission have finally published a list of 37 species to which the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation will apply; the grey squirrel is on the list! The EU Regulation requires Member States to put in place surveillance and rapid response mechanisms and to develop management action plans to prevent the introduction, or manage the spread of, invasive non-native species.   Although the British public have voted to leave the European Union, this process will take some years and therefore will not affect the implementation of the IAS regulation. Unlike England and Scotland, Wales does not currently have a policy on the control of grey squirrels. We anticipate that this move will boost the momentum to produce a Grey Squirrel Policy for Wales.  Watch this space!

© Vincent Wildlife TrustJust what impact are those pine martens having on our squirrels? Find out how Chris Harris is playing his part in the Pine Marten Restoration Project and get the latest news from our trail cams. A Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) remote camera has captured some amazing pine marten footage of a kit trying to take its first steps out of the box and then falling.  Mum comes to the rescue, but is mid-lunch when it happens and she has a grey squirrel in her mouth! Mum drops the squirrel and rescues her wayward kit, carrying it back up the tree before returning for her squirrel.

This fabulous clip>> demonstrates that grey squirrel control might be one positive outcome of the VWT’s Pine Marten Restoration Project.  Read more>>

Morpeth & District Red Squirrels – Summer 2016

MAD logo2016 has proved to be quite interesting. The early months saw greatly reduced grey sightings and in fact all sightings both red and grey were down. This was being reported across the board by many local groups. We then had quite sudden surges of grey activity in areas, and our enormous thanks as usual go to our grey control team who dealt with these. In the Shadfen area, where we have had very little grey activity, we have suddenly experienced a grey invasion and 17 were removed in July alone. This grey control is as always absolutely essential as there are a colony of reds in this area who have to be protected. There have been a family of reds visiting feeders which was lovely to see, but 12 greys were also removed from these feeders too. We had a heart stopping moment when one of the juvenile reds appeared to be quite sluggish and was not eating well and we suspected squirrel pox. This little red was caught and taken to a local vets where sadly it had to be euthanised. Fingers crossed…so far this looks like the one and only case. Swift action to remove incoming greys and also sadly removing this poorly red quickly, hopefully has protected the others. Read more>>

Results of the RSNE squirrel monitoring programme, Spring 2016

Photo from 2016 monitoringThis report details the results of red and grey squirrel range monitoring organised by Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) in spring 2016. The aim of this standardised monitoring is to collect a dataset over time that will help demonstrate the impact of red squirrel conservation activity on the distribution of red and grey squirrels. The results of standardised surveying in 293 woodland sites are detailed here, together with additional data collected from a variety of sources to provide a current snapshot of red and grey distribution across northern England. You can download the full 26 page report here>>

P&DRSG – Winter 2015/Spring 2016

P&DRSG banner

What a winter it has been! Needless to say it has been a very testing period for both humans and wildlife alike over the winter months. With consistent torrential rain, floods, high winds and at times bitterly cold weather it has certainly been a challenging time.

Penrith red 2016Work has of course continued as well as possible with the rangers and volunteers monitoring the various areas, carrying out grey control and dealing with the challenges at hand. Unfortunately the pox virus has once again reared its ugly head in some areas having a varying degree of impact amongst the red squirrel population. In most cases, with the various actions taken by both the rangers and volunteers, the pox was soon contained with healthy reds thankfully still being seen. Read more>>

‘Squirrel’ published by ESI – Issue 32, Spring 2016

ESI_Logo_210wideESI is a widely supported charity set up 14 years ago. It consists of mainly voluntary expertise from land managers, forest managers, conservationists, researchers and academics. ESI is very well placed to tackle the grey squirrel challenge, as our costs are low but our expertise is high. We are the only charitable organisation in Britain working with the issue of grey squirrel management on a large scale and working with others to do the same. Read more>>

Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership – May 2016

MWRSP-logoMany people in the mid Wales, and within the Red Squirrel Focal Site in particular, have reported that they have not seen many, or even any, grey squirrels this year.  A phenomenon which I think, at least partially, can be attributed to our trapping efforts, nearly 1,170 taken out in the last 12 months by Trap Loan Scheme members. Although grey squirrel numbers still appear to be high in other regions of  Britain, theories  have been put forward which may also partially account for the apparent drop in the local grey squirrel population, such as persistent wet weather over the winter months causing cached food supplies to decay. Grey squirrels depend much more on stored food than reds, so, if their food stores are rotten this could be one factor affecting their decline. As far as the red squirrel goes, this is all to the good, of course! Unfortunately, when numbers are low, it takes much more time to catch any grey squirrels do turn up.   Read more>>

RSNE – The Red Report – May 2016

RSNE Red Report

Our four years of Heritage Lottery Funding for community engagement work has now concluded. Chris Westerback and Katy Cook’s RSNE community development roles finished in March, although they will both continue to have partial involvement in RSNE. As such, The Red Report will now become a bi annual newsletter, with editions in summer and winter.  Read more>>