Red Squirrel Conservation Project

Red Squirrel Conservation Project

Project Animal(s) : Red squirrel
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : Europe
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL :
Project is timebound? : No

What is the main threat to the UK’s native Red squirrel population?Red squirrels, at one time, could be found all over Great Britain, but can now only be seen in wooded areas throughout the north of England, western Wales and in many parts of Scotland. They are also found on Anglesey, the Isle of Wight, Brownsea Island and in Thetford Forest in Norfolk.

Red squirrels have been found in England since the end of the last Ice Age and are part of our native fauna.The non-native grey squirrel was introduced to England in the late 1870s from America and is the primary cause of decline of the red squirrel. It does so by out-competing red squirrels for food in deciduous and mixed woodlands and by transmitting a disease ‘squirrelpox’, the squirrel Parapoxvirus, which is lethal to red squirrels.

Why do red squirrels matter?The plight of the red squirrel is recognised in local, regional, national and international conservation policies. It is afforded the highest level of protection under UK law: the Wildlife and Countryside Act.Made eternally popular through Beatrix Potter character Squirrel Nutkin, children and adults across the UK are familiar with the cheeky nature of the animals.Sadly, red squirrels have suffered severe population decline across the UK. Here in northern England though, evidence is starting to suggest that, through the commitment and dedication of conservation groups, red squirrel range is being maintained.By working together we can ensure that one of our most-loved iconic species is known to future generations.

Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) is a multi-partner project working to conserve red squirrels in northern England. Cumbria Wildlife Trust is an RSNE partner, along with other organisations including Natural England, Red Squirrel Survival Trust and the Forestry Commission.

Project Agency : Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Project Agency Contact :