NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Red squirrels 'winning battle with greys' in Aberdeen woods

Red Squirrel Image copyright Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels

Native red squirrels appear to be winning the battle against invasive greys in Aberdeen, it has been revealed.

Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) and Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels (SSRS) said monitoring in Countesswells and Foggieton woods showed red numbers were rising, with no trace of greys.

Feeder box activity and cameras have been used.

SSRS conservation officer Matt Nuttall said: "We are extremely pleased."

He said they hoped to see these "crucial forests" become "strongholds for red squirrels in the coming years".

Other measures have include maximising tree species favoured by red squirrels.

'Drive reds away'

Philippa Murphy, environment manager for the FES team in the area, explained: "We put some sticky tape on the feeder boxes to collect hairs and these, once analysed, showed that the number of red squirrels recorded in these woodlands are increasing year on year, suggesting more and more red squirrels are taking advantage of the free treats on offer.

"But the best news is that we've got no trace of grey squirrels, which tend to drive reds away from local habitats.

"It's a great pat on the back for all the hard work that has been put into this project by all the SSRS partners.

"It's a great reward for us too - it's like getting a thumbs up from the red squirrels for our sensitive management of the forests around Aberdeen."

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