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'Trapping grey squirrels is necessary'

Mike Thornley, red squirrel officer, with a grey squirrel traps Credit: ITV News Border

Mike Thornley is a Red Squirrel Officer, he said:

"Trapping grey squirrels and taking them out of habitats is the only way to give red squirrels a future.

"The species cannot co-exist and if we don't clear habitats for them then our native squirrels will die out."

A grey squirrel trap Credit: ITV News Border
Jackie Foott, the Project Co-ordinator Credit: ITV News Border


Good news for red squirrels in Grizedale

A red squirrel conservation project has been hailed as a success- one year on.

The Westmorland Red Squirrel Society's 'Grizedale Red Squirrels' have reported that the red squirrels are boasting healthy populations in and around Grizedale Forest, and they are beginning to spread further afield.

A joint effort between the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Red Squirrels Northern England, Red Squirrel Survival Trust and landowners, hase ensured that the population of red squirrels is not allowed to dwindle.

A grant of almost £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund has aso helped with the control of the greys to reduce their threat to the protection and growth of the red species.

"We have been immensely encouraged by the number of red squirrels sighted in the Grizedale area and also by the positive response from everybody involved.

"This is a wonderful example of 'community energy' creating a powerful network to benefit a local wildlife species which was desperately in need of help."

– Jackie Foott, the Project Co-ordinator

Red Kites released

Red Kites Credit: ITV Border

A landmark Forestry Commission conservation project has entered a new chapter as 30 more red kites are released into Grizedale Forest.

Red kites were successfully reintroduced to the heart of the Lake District in the summer of 2010 and again in 2011.

Now a new wave of hatchlings from the Forestry Commission's breeding site in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire are ready for release into Cumbria's skies.The latest group of juvenile raptors are spending a month gaining strength in a custom made pen at a secret location in Grizedale Forest.

The Forestry Commission North West England has been granted a special licence to release 90 red kites in Grizedale Forest over a three year period. The latest arrivals mark the third and final phase of the landmark final reintroduction of the birds in England.

Red kites were almost eradicated from the UK following changes in farming practices and human persecution between the 16th and 19th centuries. Numbers then recovered slowly and the UK population is expanding and there are now thought to be over 1,000 pairs of the birds in the country.


Red squirrel cash

Nearly 50 thousand pounds has been awarded to a group which helps protect Cumbria's red squirrels.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has made the award which will help conserve and strengethen squirrel numbers in the Grizedale area.

The Westmorland Red Squirrel Society says the cash will be used to fund a two year project.

Red squirrels are our only native squirrel but have been displaced from most of England by

the introduced American grey.

Cumbria is one of the last strongholds for the animal.

Jackie Foott, the Project Coordinator, said: "We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project protecting our iconic red squirrel which is such an important part of Cumbrian heritage."