To celebrate the start of Red Squirrel Week, the Scottish Wildlife Trust has launched a campaign which calls on nature lovers to help save the red squirrel from extinction in Scotland.
Following the success of the Trust's campaign earlier this year, thousands more households across the country will be receiving a copy of a hand-illustrated booklet entitled “The last red squirrel in Scotland?”.
Since 1952, 95% of red squirrels have been lost south of the border and Scotland now contains three quarters of the UK’s remaining population. The biggest threat comes from grey squirrels which, although only introduced from North America in the 1870s, now number in their millions.
Grey squirrels are larger and outcompete red squirrels for food. They also carry squirrelpox, a virus almost always fatal to reds. The disease reached the south of Scotland in 2007.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust is leading the fight to save this much-loved species by containing the spread of the squirrelpox virus and preventing greys from moving further north through targeted control activity. It is also planting thousands of native trees to improve red squirrel habitat, which has become fragmented and diminished.
Simon Milne, Chief Executive, said:
“The red squirrel is so much a part of our landscape that many people don’t realise just how serious the situation has become. The red squirrel could disappear from Scotland within our lifetime.
“No one is doing more to save the red squirrel than the Scottish Wildlife Trust. That’s why we are calling on people who love Scotland and its iconic wildlife to join us. With your help, we can take action before it’s too late.”
Scottish Wildlife Trust members enjoy free entry to our Visitor Centres and 120 nature reserves, regular copies of our award-winning magazine, discounts on family events and more.