Public urged to support survey during National Red Squirrel Week

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS) is calling on members of the public to take part in the nationwide Great Scottish Squirrel Survey during National Red Squirrel Week, now taking place between October 10-16.
The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey will take place all next week.The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey will take place all next week.
The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey will take place all next week.

Now in its fourth year, the squirrel spotting campaign is hoping to build on the previous successes of this important effort.

SSRS is a partnership project led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which is working in priority areas across Scotland to protect red squirrels from the spread of the non-native grey squirrel.

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Grey squirrels were introduced to Scotland in Victorian times and have since replaced our native red squirrel in many parts of the country. They out-compete reds for food and living space and can also carry squirrelpox, a virus that doesn’t harm them but is fatal to reds.

This year, project partners are encouraging everyone in Scotland to go out and get spotting and to add their sightings to the online map at scottishsquirrels.org.uk.

Victoria Chanin, project officer, said: “Red Squirrel Week is a great time to get outside for an autumnal walk. Engaging with nature in this way is very beneficial for people’s well-being and adding sightings of red and grey squirrels to our online map helps us to keep track of squirrel movements in Scotland.”During times of transition and uncertainty, like those facing the nation in recent weeks, many find peace by connecting with their local wildlife and greenspaces and the survey encourages members of the public to further explore those nature connections and get involved directly with conservation efforts on the ground.

Following up on a record-breaking turnout in 2020, last year’s Great Scottish Squirrel Survey saw 1549 squirrel sightings reported in just one week by nearly 1100 people across Scotland.

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Sightings help project staff to create a picture of the situation and directly contribute to red squirrel conservation action. Since the end of the project’s spring surveys in 2020, the annual Great Scottish Squirrel Survey has become the most important event for getting a snapshot of the distributions of both red and grey squirrels for comparisons year to year.

More information at scottishsquirrels.org.uk/great-scottish-squirrel-survey.

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