Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Red Squirrels to Mersea Island



Yesterday was an exciting day as we sent 12 red squirrels to Mersea Island in Essex for our next release programme. This is particularly exciting, as we are adding to squirrels which have already been re-located there from other squirrel groups including Pensthorpe, meaning that a few groups are working together for this release and for the good of the red squirrel!



Twelve travel boxes where awaiting me when I arrived in the morning, and so the job was on to get them safely boxed up and ready to go!



A couple of hours later and they were all ready to go, and where packed in to the car to be taken back and prepared for there release. They will be soft-released over the next few weeks to give them the best chance of establishing themselves.



The island are really excited to have them arriving, and many of the residents have been busy putting up feeders in their gardens... keen to help out with the project, and keen to see the squirrels themselves.

The local pet store has even been making a specialist squirrel mix to sell to the residents to feed the squirrels with. All this help can only be a good thing, and will really help the squirrels to settle and hopefully thrive.



I was also shown a red squirrel sign which is being put up around some of the roads on the island to make people aware of these animals now being residents.



Once these have settled in, we have a further 10 which will be making there way over in the new year to help boost numbers, I will keep you updated as we here about how they are getting on!

9 comments:

  1. very exiting news a great project.

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  2. I really hope this is successful.

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  3. IUCN (2013) guidelines anyone?

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    1. Hi "Anonymous".

      We were contacted by Mersea Island to add to squirrels already being released on to the island. We had surplus so were able to offer a dozen of mixed age, sex, bloodline to add to the ones originally provided by the Pensthorpe squirrel group. All our squirrels were quarantined before relocation, and soft released at the other end.

      It is our understanding that it was deemed a suitable place to try a release programme, and although there is a lack of woodland their was considered to be enough copice land with linked hedgerows for an release to take place. It was decided that supplementary feeding would be needed through the winter, but we were reassured by the island that the residents were very keen to offer food throughout the year. They have since built special feeders and designed a squirrel mix food. We believe they continue to monitor the squirrels, although must admit have not had a recent update. I will have to ask them.

      If you are concerned in anyway with the project, I suggest you talk directly with the Mersea island group who are running the release. Of course, if it is not successful we will not support it further. We have had to decline many approaches for squirrels recently in the past due to various reasons and only support the ones we believe have a chance of success.

      We are linked with more releases in the coming years, news to follow on those as the time comes.

      Matt

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  4. Hi

    I am one of those on Mersea involved in this project and can assure you that the previous releases and this one have been successful. We are seeing red squirrels regularly. Just before this particular release we were seeing between one and three squirrels daily in our garden and woods ( we are at the east end of the Island). There have been separate releases at three locations in the East and West of the Island. 4 of the squirrels were held in our purpose built pens for a few days and then released into our wood. There is evidence of several drays being built high up in the trees. So far so good! There is great support on the Island and the local cub scouts will be building 30 feeders to add to the dozens that have already been put out by residents. Regards Chris Burr - contact me via CJBurr@AOL.com if you wish.

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  5. Update Sept 2015. Our success continues. The frequency and spread of sightings on the Island is increasing steadily as this year's offspring push out into new territories. Over 400 residents have signed up to the Island's Red Squirrel Group and are supporting the project. We plan further releases and a volunteer project further enhance woodland and hedgerow habitat on the island with new planting and the enhancement of existing habitat. Chris Burr

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    1. Hi Chris,

      Great to hear. Thanks for letting us know... keep us updated :-)

      Matt

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  6. We live in Firs Chase and have been watching a red squirrel all morning collecting and hiding walnuts ,as I write this he his on our patio sticking them in my flower pots. I believe there are 3 that have visited our garden over the last few weeks as there have been slight differences in colour and size.

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  7. Well I've just visited Mersea and had a red squirrel cross the road in front of me (it's ok folks) I had no idea we had them here, and had to look them up hence my finding this page. So as of November 16 they very definitely are still here!

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