Ministerial approval for red squirrels

Original Author: Dr Mel Tonkin, Project Manager

With the fight to protect Scotland’s only native squirrel species reaching a critical stage, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse MSP visits the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project.


At the start of September, the Scottish Wildlife Trust welcomed a visit by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, to Southesk Estate in Angus to see the vital work undertaken by Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS).

During his visit, Mr. Wheelhouse had an opportunity to inspect squirrel traps in the area and discuss the most recent developments with Project Manager Dr Mel Tonkin. The meeting also provided an opportunity to showcase the project and demonstrate how working in partnership with landowners has benefited this much-loved species.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“Red squirrels are one of Scotland’s most recognisable and loved animals. The work of SSRS in raising awareness of their plight in north east Scotland is extremely important to preserving their future across Scotland.”

Minister visits Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels
Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP with Jonny Hughes of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Earl of Southesk.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Simon Milne, said: “Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is an excellent example of how conservation bodies and landowners can – and indeed must – work together to safeguard our wildlife.

“The Earl of Southesk and over 200 landowners and their teams are putting a huge amount of effort into ensuring that one of our most popular animals has a future in Scotland.”

Lord Southesk said: “It was very good to see the Minister taking the time to visit the project in action and we hope he will remain supportive of the programme to protect Scotland’s wonderful red squirrel populations.”

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is a multi-partner project to secure the future of the UK’s only native squirrel species. Three quarters of the UK’s remaining red squirrels live in Scotland, but their future has come under threat from the spread of the deadly squirrelpox virus, the expansion of non-native grey squirrel populations and wider loss of habitat.

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