In September 2019, the Lake District Foundation launched a campaign to raise funds to support Red Squirrel Conservation in Cumbria which has now raised over £14,000, in spite of the fundraising challenges the global Covid-19 pandemic presented.
Cumbria is one of the best places to see Red Squirrels but research shows that the most serious threat to the survival of the red squirrel is the larger non-native grey squirrel, which not only outcompetes the reds for food, but also carries squirrel pox disease, which is deadly to the reds.
Heinz Traut, Project Manager, Red Squirrels Northern England, said: “A recent study found that red squirrels were present in 64% of surveys within Cumbria, proving once again that the county is one of the best places to see this delightful species. However, reds are only thriving here due to the relentless commitment of hundreds of volunteers, who work tirelessly to preserve them. We are so grateful to the donors who have supported this campaign and enabled us to continue this great work.”
The funds raised have now been distributed to 7 local squirrel groups for much needed monitoring equipment and other materials vital in the conservation of this iconic Cumbrian species. The grants will be used by local volunteer groups to buy squirrel feeders, squirrel food, cleaning apparatus and monitoring equipment to increase the efficiency of their conservation efforts. Some groups are also using their grant to produce information signs and leaflets to raise awareness in their communities and encourage people to report sightings of red and grey squirrels and to donate to the Red Squirrel Fund.
Grants have also been made to Red Squirrels Northern England who coordinate and analyse the conservations efforts across the county, and the Lake District National Park Authority to restore woodland along the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Trail, increasing both the availability of habitat suitable for the red squirrels and the opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with nature along the trail.
Sarah Swindley, CEO Lake District Foundation, said “Teams of volunteers work really hard across the county to protect this amazing creature. Our role at the LDF is to connect people who love the landscape, wildlife and culture of the Lake District with effective conservation projects. We are delighted to be able to support these volunteers to continue their vital work, enabling red squirrels to thrive in Cumbria.”
There is a continued need for squirrel food and conservation equipment to support the volunteers in their hard work, and you can support their efforts by donating now:
Text “savereds” to 70085 to donate £5. This costs £5 plus a standard message rate, or visit https://www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/red-squirrel-campaign-2019-savereds/
To report a red squirrel sighting please visit: www.northernredsquirrels.org.uk/report-sightings