Guest blog post by Rachel Saunders
Red Squirrel Conservation in the North-West 7th July 2011
Amy Campbell, Red Squirrel Field Officer Lancashire Wildlife Trust, ventures to Knowsley Safari Park’s Safari School to share her wisdom regarding the regions Red Squirrel population. Here at Knowsley we are lucky to have both captive and wild Red Squirrels on the Knowsley Estate. We have been actively supporting ‘Save Our Squirrels’ and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust for several years now.
Amy discussed the basic biology and ecology of Red Squirrels, Sciurus vulgaris, and how to identify both Red and Grey Squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis. Amy highlighted that Red Squirrels are internationally widespread, but here in the UK are under severe pressure due to disease, competition, predation, habitat loss, and road traffic accidents. Grey squirrels cause a major problem for the reds as they outcompete the smaller Red Squirrels, plus the greys carry the deadly Squirrel-pox virus which can decimate Red Squirrel populations, even leading to extirpation in localised areas. Grey squirrel control in Red Squirrel strongholds is currently the only successful way of encouraging stable Red Squirrel populations that can flourish and expand the area that they inhabit.
Lancashire Wildlife Trust undertakes a large amount of work to save the local Red Squirrel populations, see diagram.
Amy invited the audience to assist with Volunteer work and also to report any sightings of Red or Grey Squirrels. If you
The evening ended with the raffle with ‘Squirrely’ gifts and prizes. Tea, coffee, and biscuits then accompanied question time. A grand total of £190 was raised for Save Our Squirrels. Thank you to all who came along and the staff that helped to make the evening a success. We hope to continue our support for Save Our Squirrels in the future through events and research into our wild population.
Our next event is the Rhino Rally Weekend, 13th-14th August. We hope to see you there to help us raise funds and awareness for Save the Rhino
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