Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels

Project overview

What is Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels?

Map of SSRS project activity
Map of project activity (click to zoom)

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is a project to stop the decline of Scotland’s core red squirrel populations. Working closely with local communities, the project is seeking to improve conditions for red squirrels across Scotland, and combat the spread of the non-native grey squirrel.

Phase Three of the project runs over three years, from 1 April 2014 to 31 April 2017, and aims to:

  • Sustain red squirrel populations north of the Central Lowlands and in key areas of south Scotland
  • Manage the impact of the deadly squirrelpox virus as it spreads northwards towards the Central Lowlands
  • Establish a long-term, cost effective means of controlling the spread of the non-native grey squirrel
  • Secure greater participation by landowners and volunteers in our grey squirrel control effort
  • Continue to monitor red and grey squirrel distributions across Scotland


Working in partnership

Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels is a partnership project led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and includes Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates and the Red Squirrel Survival Trust. The partnership is also supported by an extensive network of over 400 landowners covering well over 4,000 square kilometres.

Scottish Wildlife TrustFor over 50 years, the Scottish Wildlife Trust has worked with its members, partners and supporters in pursuit of its vision of healthy, resilient ecosystems across Scotland’s land and seas. The Trust successfully champions the cause of wildlife through policy and campaigning work, demonstrates best practice through practical conservation and innovative partnerships, and inspires people to take positive action through its education and engagement activities. The Trust manages a network of 120 wildlife reserves across Scotland and is a member of the UK-wide Wildlife Trusts movement.

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Scottish Natural HeritageScottish Natural Heritage is the Scottish Government’s statutory advisor on the conservation, enhancement, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of the natural heritage. Scottish Natural Heritage's work is about caring for the natural heritage, enabling people to enjoy it, helping people to understand and appreciate it, and supporting those who manage it. Their aspiration is for the natural heritage to be used and managed sustainably.

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Forestry Commission ScotlandThe Forestry Commission serves as the forestry directorate of the Government, advising on and implementing forestry policy and managing the national forest estate. Forestry Commission Scotland is ensuring that the national forest estate plays its part in delivering the aims of the partnership, and is supporting private landowners to do the same.Their mission is to protect and expand Scotland's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment.

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Scottish Land and EstatesScottish Land and Estates promotes the wide range of benefits land-based businesses provide: the tourist attractions, leisure facilities and landscapes enjoyed by the public as well as housing, employment, tourism, enterprise and farming opportunities.They represent the role and interests of those involved with rural property and businesses connected with the land.

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RSST logoThe Red Squirrel Survival Trust is a UK charity established to ensure the conservation and protection of the red squirrel in the UK. They work in partnership with dedicated and knowledgeable local groups and on projects around the country. The Trust is providing support to the north east component of Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels. This is part of their wider scheme to protect the red squirrels of Scotland, which includes supporting the Red Squirrels in South Scotland project.

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RSST logoThe RSPB is the country’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Its reserve network across Scotland is home to many of the UK’s most threatened species and wildest places. Together with its partners, it protects threatened birds and wildlife so towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. 

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Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels is grateful to a number of organisations, trusts and individuals who help make our work possible. For more information, click on the boxes below. Alternatively, click here to make a donation to the project.

HLF logo

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. 

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LEADER is a bottom-up method of delivering support to communities for rural development. Grants are awarded by Local Action Groups to projects that support delivery of a Local Development Strategy.

The aim of LEADER is to increase support to local rural community and business networks to build knowledge and skills, and encourage innovation and cooperation in order to tackle local development objectives.

LEADER logos

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Aberdeen GreenspacesAberdeen Greenspace Trust works with individuals, communities, businesses and organisations in and around the city of Aberdeen to develop access, increase biodiversity, carry out landscape improvements and provide information and interpretation. They turn urban spaces into places that are people friendly, safe and nature friendly within the city of Aberdeen.

Their goal is that everyone living and working in Aberdeen has easy access to quality green spaces that meet local needs and improve their quality of life; whether this be planting trees, upgrading parks, creating cycle paths, adding colour to dingy grey walls or improving pathways to encourage walking and exploring in Aberdeen.

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Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National ParkLoch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park was created in July 2002 to safeguard an area of outstanding and diverse landscapes, habitats and communities, parts of which were coming under severe visitor and recreational pressures.

The National Park aims to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage, promote the sustainable use of the natural resources of the area, promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public,
and promote sustainable social and economic development of the communities of the area.

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The Gannochy TrustThe Gannochy Trust was founded in 1937 by Arthur Kinmond Bell, known as A K Bell, for charitable and public purposes as a direct result of his family’s successful distilling business. The Trust covers the whole of Scotland but has a particular focus on Perth and Kinross, in line with its founder's original wishes.

The Trust has made significant contributions to a wide variety of projects across Scotland over many years, ranging from major national flagship projects to smaller, but nonetheless important, local community projects.

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People's Trust for Endangered SpeciesPeople's Trust for Endangered Species is an international conservation charity, working to protect animals and their habitats. They are passionate about protecting animals facing extinction in vulnerable habitats but they also recognise that passion isn’t enough: successful conservation is based on sound scientific evidence.

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Angus Environmental TrustThe main aim of the Angus Environmental Trust is to distribute landfill tax funds to assist both local community groups, organisations and other environmental bodies to take forward projects within Angus. The Trust supports projects that protect, improve and enhance the environment (both built and natural) and the cultural heritage of Angus. They also support projects that aid the recovery of a species in its natural habitat, including the red squirrel.

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Solway HeritageThis project has been supported by Solway Heritage, through the Landfill Communities Fund. Solway Heritage works to conserve, interpret and promote the natural, built and cultural heritage across Dumfries and Galloway. The organisation has four main objectives: to secure the sustainable use, management and enjoyment of the natural and man-made heritage; to conserve and enhance buildings or artefacts of architectural or historic interest; to conserve and enhance landscape and wildlife resources; and to interpret and encourage informed public access to the built, natural and cultural heritage.

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The Robertson TrustThe Robertson Trust was established in 1961 by the three Robertson sisters to provide financial support for charities. This funding enables the Trust to donate to a wide range of charitable objects and activities which take place in - or have a direct impact on - Scotland.

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e are also grateful to the following funders and supporters:

J & JR Wilson Trust, Martin Wills Wildlife Maintenance Trust, Talteg and Mrs M.A. Lascelles Charitable Trust.


This year's sightings


Programme leaders

Scottish Wildlife Trust Forestry Commission Scottish Land and Estates
Scottish Natural Heritage Red Squirrel Survival Trust RSPB