A pleasant surprise in an urban trap

Original Author: Steve Willis, Project Officer North East Scotland

A good news story from Aberdeen, where red squirrels continue to re-colonise the city.


Here in the North East we run a trap loan scheme in and around Aberdeen city. This involves us providing a live-capture cage trap to householders to put in their garden. They keep an eye on the trap when it is set, and when they catch anything they give us a call. If it’s a grey squirrel then we humanely dispatch the animal and re-set the trap. Now and again we catch red squirrels, and in places it can become quite a common occurrence. But not everywhere…

We had tremendous excitement on the morning of July 1st when one of our Grey Squirrel Control Officers got a call from a householder to say they had a red squirrel in a trap – right in Aberdeen! In fact, in an area where we were yet to ‘officially’ record red squirrels! There had been a few reports from members of the public, but we were keen to get confirmation. And we got it that morning.

The GSCO got to the house and released the red squirrel without incident. Needless to say, the householders in question were delighted!

And where exactly was this exciting find? Well just on the southern edge of Seaton Park, and right beside the University of Aberdeen.

As we have found elsewhere, red squirrels can and do return when grey squirrel control work removes their main competitor. Annually the trap loan scheme accounts for around half our captures, and in Aberdeen  over 330 households have participated in the scheme. Fantastic community support, and nice to see the results of our hard work.

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