Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Red Squirrels on Tresco

Red Squirrel in Tresco - by Kathryn Cooper 

I am sure you are all aware that over the past two years we have released, and established, a new colony of red squirrels on the isle of Tresco... one of the Scilly isles of the coast of Cornwall. It is only with releases like this that we will be able to keep red squirrel in the country. Our aim is to one day be able to releases red squirrels back on to the mainland, but this may not be for some time and so for now the islands are their safe havens.

But, has it worked? How are the squirrels on Tresco doing?... Well, I am pleased to say it has been a resounding success and the squirrels are fairing well!

Squirrel on feeder - by Kathryn Cooper 

I was a little concerned over the turn of the year, due to the strong winds and heavy rain we had, as to how they would cope... but during the early part of this year they have all been seen busying around the island and coping extremely well. They have built their own dreys, and even adapted to the wild food on the island. Although do still come back to eat some of the food given out by the residents, an ongoing food source for them if they need it.

Squirrel on feeder - by Kathryn Cooper 

What's more is they have bred this year too! Something we hoped for, but perhaps didn't expect for another year while they settled in. This is great news of course, and shows how happy and settled they are to rear young.

Squirrel on nest box - by Kathryn Cooper

All of these photos were taken by Kathryn Cooper, who recently went for a visit to the island and got to see the squirrels first hand. She did amazingly well to get these pics, and it is nice to see the squirrels looking so healthy with their new wild life. This is what Kathryn had to see on her recent trip:

"It was an absolute delight to spend some time with them. It took quite some time for them to get used to me enough that they'd come close enough for a good shot.  After a couple of hours of patient waiting (and brief glimpses, inevitably at the furthest feeder), there were four or five busying themselves around me. They move incredibly fast through the branches - a difficult but satisfying subject to photograph! The habitat on Tresco looks superb and I'm so pleased to hear that they are breeding." - Kathryn Cooper

We are linked with more projects for the coming years regarding red squirrel conservation, and I will tell more when I can. But for now enjoy these pics from Tresco, and thanks to Kathryn for allowing me to share them with you.

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