20th September 2017, by Forestry Commission Scotland
Source: Forestry Commission Scotland
Recent feeder box monitoring and camera trapping carried out in Countesswells and Foggieton Woods, near Aberdeen, indicates a rosy future for red squirrels.
The work by Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) and Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS) builds on many years of conservation work and monitoring and indicates that red squirrel numbers in the area are increasing - and that the woods are free from non-native grey squirrels!
Philippa Murphy, Environment Manager for the FES team in the area, said “We put some sticky tape on the feeder boxes to collect hairs and these, once analysed, showed that the number of red squirrels recorded in these woodlands are increasing year on year, suggesting more and more red squirrels are taking advantage of the free treats on offer.
“But the best news is that we’ve got no trace of grey squirrels, which tend to drive reds away from local habitats.
“It’s a great pat on the back for all the hard work that has been put into this project by all the SSRS partners. It’s a great reward for us too – it’s like getting a thumbs up from the red squirrels for our sensitive management of the forests around Aberdeen.”
As well as following best practice to manage the woodlands for red squirrels, other measures taken include minimising the amount of large clearfell sites and maximising the tree species favoured by red squirrels.
There has been no evidence of grey squirrels in the area for the last two years.
This work will continue to be supported by FES with additional funding from the AWPR Offset Mitigation Fund.
Matt Nuttall, SSRS Conservation Officer, said; “We are extremely pleased by the results of our monitoring work from Countesswells and Foggieton Woods, as it demonstrates that the hard work of all the project partners, our volunteers, and members of the public over several years has had a real positive impact on red squirrels.
With the continued support from the AWPR Offset Mitigation Fund, FES and SSRS staff hope to see these crucial forests becomes strongholds for red squirrels in the coming years.”
Members of the public can support red squirrel conservation by reporting sightings of red and grey squirrels on the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels