How to help our red squirrels and where did those greys come from in the first place?

Jan 15, 2024 | Education, News

As the UK’s only native squirrel species, it is sad to note that the red squirrel (Sciurus Vulgaris) is classified as endangered in England and Wales.
With the UK red squirrel population falling over the years, from approximately 3.5 million to just a few hundred thousand, it is easy to see that this is a serious issue for the UK and our indigenous red squirrels and why strongholds such as the Isle of Wight are so incredibly important to their continued survival here.
This loss becomes particularly pertinent when one considers that the UK grey squirrel population now stands at an estimated 2.7 million. How did these greys come to be here you might ask?
Well, it is believed that they have been here since 1876 (at least that is the first recorded pair), courtesy of a certain Victorian banker named Thomas V. Brocklehurst. Having returned from a business trip to America with a pair of Greys intended as pets, Brocklehurst apparently tired of them and released them into Henbury Park, near Macclesfield in Cheshire. The rest, as they say, is history.
Add to that the fact that those now numerous greys are potential carriers of squirrel pox which does not harm them but is fatal to reds.
Not to mention the fact that greys out compete the much smaller reds for vital food supplies.
And our reds find themselves in a somewhat precarious situation.
Thankfully numbers here on our beautiful island remain fairly stable and efforts are being made around the UK to protect and promote our red squirrel populations.
If you would like to get involved there are various ways in which you can do that:
1. Volunteer with The Isle of Wight Red Squirrel Trust – we are always on the look out for volunteers for various roles, including (but not limited to): giving talks (there is a script so you do not need to be an expert); fund raising; doing administrative tasks; crafting goods to be sold at fairs or through auctions or raffles and so much more
2. Make a donation via our Just Giving Page:
3. Take out an adoption or making a purchase from our online shop:
4. Become a corporate donor: Some businesses choose or create a product that they allocate a percentage of sales from to donate to The Isle of Wight Red Squirrel Trust. We invite you to message us here or email us on if you are interested in exploring this possibility.
5. Share our social media posts and talk about red squirrels and our work to people you meet when going about your day 💞
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