Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels

Latest project update

Only 120,000 red squirrels remain in Scotland, around 75% of the total UK population. Scotland is one of the only havens left for red squirrels, with areas in the north still remaining grey-free. But greys are on the move! We must act now to protect the red squirrels we have left. For more information about our project, visit the official project website or report a squirrel sighting.

About the Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels project

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has joined forces with Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates and the RSPB to undertake the first nationally co-ordinated attempt to stop the decline of red squirrels in Scotland.

The project aims to:

  • Protect red squirrels in the Highlands, Argyll, North-East Scotland and northern Tayside
  • Practice targeted grey squirrel management, preventing the grey moving northwards
  • Improve and share our knowledge and understanding of squirrel management
  • Involve foresters and woodland owners in creating ideal habitat for red squirrels
  • Increase our knowledge of the distribution of squirrels in Scotland
  • Promote red squirrel conservation to the public

Why do we need to save red squirrels?

The red squirrel is the UK's only native squirrel species, and was once a common sight across all of mainland Britain. Today, red squirrels are sadly absent from most of England and Scotland’s central belt, affected by the spread of the grey squirrel, introduced in the 19th Century.

The larger grey squirrel is able to out-compete reds for food and habitat, and carries the squirrelpox virus – a virus lethal to reds which does not harm greys. Without urgent action, the 120,000 red squirrels that remain in Scotland may disappear within a lifespan.

How can you help

The red squirrel needs as much help as possible if it is to survive. The Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels project will provide some much needed respite, but we need your help to make a lasting difference to red squirrel numbers. Donate now and help save an icon, or join the Scottish Wildlife Trust today. You can also report grey and red squirrel sightings.

For more information on the project, please contact Mel Tonkin, Saving Red Squirrel's Project Manager, on 0131 312 4733. You can also sign up to receive e-updates by emailing, or by visiting

Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels Programme Leaders



Supporters of Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels

Aberdeen Greenspace Scottish Government European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development LEADER


The Gannochy Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, J & J R Wilson Trust, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, The Robertson Trust, Bivolino and the Red Squirrel Survival Trust.

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The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (registered number SC040247), having its registered office at

Harbourside House, 110 Commercial St, Edinburgh EH6 6NF. It is also a Scottish registered charity (charity number SC005792). Privacy policy & Cookie policy.