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Near extinct red squirrels make comeback in North East

Red squirrels were virtually wiped out following the arrival of grey squirrels Credit: PA images

Red squirrels have made a remarkable comeback from near extinction after being spotted on an estate in Northumberland.

The population of the popular furry critters was reduced almost to zero in 2011 after deadly squirrel pox started to spread through Wallington Hall, Northumberland, following the arrival of grey squirrels.

But an initiative by the National Trust has seen the numbers bounce back to 170, with no greys left at all.

The organisation recruited Glen Graham, their first red squirrel ranger, to monitor the numbers and oversee the turnaround:

The constant presence of rangers, alongside the support of visitors and volunteers, is crucial to safeguarding red squirrel populations.

Looking to the future, contraceptive methods and new technologies could provide long-term solutions, but in the meantime we need public buy in to protect one of Britain's best loved species.

– Glen Graham, Red Squirrel ranger

Saturday (September 23) marks the start of Red Squirrel Awareness Week, with only 15,000 of them left in England.