Saving Scotland’s Squirrels
These red-squirrels are having a tree-party (see what I did there?). It looks like the last guest has arrived just in time for cake. Penelope is always running late, but at least she hasn’t forgotten her gift, an acorn tied with red ribbon.
Last year I created a birthday card featuring some cute red squirrels having a tea party in the woods with the intention of donating part of the proceeds to help with red squirrel conservation in my new home. 50 pence from each card sold is donated to the Scottish Wildlife Trust to go towards their program to save Scotland’s red squirrels. So far, we have raised £30 for them. According to their website, this is enough for one bag of squirrel feed.
Why are the Red Squirrels in Danger?
The red squirrel is the only species of squirrel that is native to Scotland and their populations have been in decline since grey squirrels were introduced to the UK from North America. As cute as they are, grey squirrels can carry a disease called “squirrel pox” that can wipe out a population of red squirrels in less than two weeks.
Not only do red squirrels have disease to deal with, but their habitat has also been under threat. Woodlands are being developed and what remains often isn’t large enough to support a healthy population of squirrels. Currently, there are only around 120,000 red squirrels left in Scotland.
The organization known as Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels works with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the support of volunteers to help the red squirrels not only survive, but increase in number. They monitor the numbers of both red and grey squirrels in Scotland, manage the spread of greys, reduce the risk of squirrel pox outbreaks, protect key populations of red squirrels and campaign for awareness.
If you want to read more about the red squirrels or how you can help in other ways, you can check out their website here: scottishsquirrels.org.uk