Last year, our business fundraisers raised over £1,500 which helped to support vital red squirrel conservation work in the Penrith area.
The red squirrel is our only native British squirrel but is at serious risk of extinction if population numbers continue to decline. The main cause of this decline is competition with the American grey squirrel, an introduced species which is larger than the red and better able to survive harsh weather and occasional food shortages. It also breeds more successfully and quickly out-competes its red cousin for food.
Cumbria is one of the few counties in the country where red squirrels can still be seen. Penrith and District Red Squirrels are working to protect and increase numbers of these loveable creatures right here in Cumbria.
The rangers and their supporters’ local knowledge of our 600 square miles of operation is key to the conservation strategy of the group, as is the efficient reporting of their conservation work. The standardised recording data of this work shows that red squirrel numbers remain encouragingly high and stable across all areas.
The devastating floods of December 2015 had a huge impact on the project, and your support is needed now more than ever. For several weeks after the floods, many roads remained closed in the area and sites were inaccessible. When rangers were eventually able to access the woods around Ullswater, it was a case of carefully working the sodden fell side woods, cleaning or replacing (in the majority of the cases) all the feeders – the majority having been drenched, damaged or lost for several months.
Conservation and monitoring work is back in full swing now, and we hope that the red squirrels will recover quickly. Without your donations our future generations may not be given the opportunity or privilege to see red squirrels in their natural environment.
“Thank you so much for your fantastic support, working together really does give the reds a helping hand” Julie Bailey, Penrith & District Red Squirrel Group secretary.
Photo: Paul Fowlie