Where can I find red squirrels in the UK?
The distribution of red squirrels has declined drastically in the last 60 years and are now virtually extinct in southern England. They can be found in Scotland but their range is contracting. In England, reds are confined to the Poole Harbour islands, Isle of Wight, Formby/Southport area, North Yorks, and the two counties of Cumbria and Northumberland. In Wales, red squirrels are present in the Tywi valley, Clocaenog forest, and on Anglesey. However, in Formby the population has been devastated by squirrelpox, and has declined by more than 80%.
See the maps below for squirrel distribution in the UK.
Is the government involved in the protection of red squirrels?
The red squirrel is protected under schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Under this legislation it is illegal to “intentionally kill, injure or take” or “damage, destroy or obstruct” access to any structure or place used for shelter or protection, or to disturb any animal while it is in a drey. Forestry operations are not prevented by this legislation but are expected to cause minimal disturbance and minimise loss of habitat.1
What is your position on grey squirrel control?
We agree with the view that targeted culling is essential in order to secure the survival of red squirrels. Where possible we prefer non-lethal methods of control.
How can I help to protect red squirrels?
If you live in Cumbria or Northumberland you could get in touch with Northern Red Squirrels if you see any red squirrels in your area. Please click here to go to the Northern Red Squirrels website.
If you live in Anglesey you could contact the Red Squirrels Trust Wales to report any sightings you have made. Click here to go to their Report Squirrel Sightings page.
If you live in Dumfries and Galloway or the Scottish borders and would like to report any sightings you have made, you may like to contact Red Squirrels in South Scotland. Click here for their Report Sightings page.
1 North East Scotland Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP). LBAP is a locally driven process working towards action to conserve important species and habitats. Click here if you would like further information on the Red Squirrel Action Plan.