Britain's native red squirrels making a comeback

Baby red squirrel Credit: Wildwood Trust

These babies were born on the Wildwood Trust site in Kent. The Trust is a charity committed to restoring native species.

After maturing at the park they will be released as part of Wildwood's red squirrel conservation project which aim to prevent their nationwide extinction by re-introducing red squirrels back to the UK.

Once fully grown the squirrels will be transported to two sites in Wales to live wild and free, helping form a population to safeguard and expand the species.

After efforts to reintroduce pine martens over the last 3 years by the Vincent Wildlife Trust, it is now hoped the red squirrel can out compete invasive grey squirrels from North America to once again become part of lives, eventually being restored across Southern Britain.

In the 1920s red squirrels began to be replaced by grey squirrels which were introduced to about 30 sites from North America, between 1876 and 1929.

Red squirrels seem unable to survive in the presence of greys, but the reasons for this are not fully understood.

There is no evidence that grey squirrels aggressively chase out red squirrels, or that grey squirrels brought a disease with them from America which affects red squirrels.

The key to why grey have replaced red squirrels seems to be their ability to compete for food in different types of habitat.