Almost 1,000 red squirrel sightings during survey week

Red squirrel. Photograph: Raymond Leinster

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Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels has published the results of this year’s Great Scottish Squirrel Survey, when more than 600 people reported 828 sightings in just one week.

The results will enhance conservationists’ understanding of squirrel populations across Scotland.

The campaign, which ran from September 23–29, encouraged the Scottish public to spend some time exploring the outdoors while keeping a lookout for both red and grey squirrels. Sightings were reported on the project website.

Dr Mel Tonkin, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels Project manager said: ‘Sightings records give us a good indication of how red and grey squirrel populations are distributed. Monitoring changes in these populations over time helps us understand the situation and make better conservation decisions.

‘We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to get outdoors and take part in the survey.’

The results show that red squirrels are still widespread across the north of the country, with a large number of sightings reported in Scotland’s central Lowlands to the north of Edinburgh and Glasgow. A National Lottery-funded project appears to be making good progress in its ambition to maintain Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park as a ‘red only’ zone, with work in the wider Stirling area also beginning to having a positive impact.

Sightings of red and grey squirrels can be reported at scottishsquirrels.org.uk