Last month the Red Squirrel Forum for South Scotland was awarded a game-changing grant from the Red Squirrel Survival Trust to help protect local red squirrels in Southern Scotland with innovative equipment.
Collaboration and community action are crucial to the long-term survival of red squirrels in Scotland, and in the South, dedicated red squirrel volunteer groups are leading the way in priority areas where protection is needed the most. These groups, supported by the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project, fall under the collective banner of the Red Squirrel Forum for South Scotland.
Stretching from Stranraer to Berwick the Forum, established in 2018, promotes a landscape-scale strategic approach involving more than 350 volunteers in 18 red squirrel groups, all working to monitor, promote and protect red squirrels where they live.
Field equipment has a vital role to play in volunteer activities, and a recent grant of £14,120 awarded by the Red Squirrel Survival Trust to the Forum will help provide groups with game-changing tools including 10 thermal imaging scopes and 120 trail cameras.
Both thermal imagers and trail cameras enable volunteers to detect squirrels, red and grey, much more efficiently, enabling volunteers to identify areas that may be under threat from the non-native grey squirrel.
The new equipment is novel to most people and fun to use, so it will also deliver benefits to community engagement activities such as guided walks organised by volunteer groups to help raise awareness of the plight of the red squirrel.
Thanks to the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, a national charity working to prevent the extinction of this endangered species and partner to the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project, volunteer groups in South Scotland will be able to sustain their surveying and monitoring efforts well into the future.
Find out more about the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, the Red Squirrel Forum for South Scotland and what this grant means for conservation within the area at https://www.rsst.org.uk/blog/2020/9/16/scottish-borders-groups-bank-national-funding. Or visit the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels Network Directory to find out more about red squirrel volunteer groups near you.