More volunteers needed to protect our red squirrels

Volunteers are being sought to protect Fermanagh’s iconic red squirrels.
In recent years, Fermanagh’s reds have bounced back and re-appeared in areas they were absent from for many years, which is very likely linked to the natural recovery of Pine Martens locally and the disappearance of Grey Squirrels.
To remove any re-invasion of Fermanagh by Greys, Ulster Wildlife and Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group held a meeting in the Bawnacre Centre in Irvinestown to recruit new volunteers to keep a watchful eye on the woodlands and gardens of North East Fermanagh – an area at particular risk of Grey incursion.
However, although Fermanagh’s reds are doing well at the moment, there is an on-going risk that they could be threatened by the spread of the Grey Squirrels, which are still common in some nearby parts of Tyrone.
Grey Squirrels can carry the Squirrelpox virus, which is not harmful for them, but is usually over 90% fatal for Reds and can devastate Red Squirrel populations rapidly.
Additionally, Greys out-compete Reds, leaving them vulnerable to food shortages and ultimately to starvation.
Ulster Wildlife’s Fermanagh Red Squirrel Officer, Michael Stinson, said, “Fermanagh is a very important area for Red Squirrels – to ensure that they continue to flourish and can be enjoyed by future generations, local people need to help to prevent Grey Squirrels displacing them from the county’s woodlands.
“By participating in the trail camera monitoring with Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group, volunteers can play a vital role in protecting this much-loved species.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact or on 07816065909.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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