Red Squirrels At The Yorkshire Arboretum
A new project to introduce a small breeding group of native Red Squirrels Sciurus vulgaris opens at The Yorkshire Arboretum on Saturday 1 April 2023. Made possible by generous support from The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund it offers an opportunity to learn more about this increasingly rare native mammal.
The project will help boost Red Squirrel numbers in Britain by providing space for a new breeding colony, whose offspring may be used for reintroduction projects. The three squirrels in the group have come from participants in the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) Red Squirrel Studbook network, which aims to ensure a genetically diverse population in captivity.
Ben Paterson, Red Squirrel Officer at the Yorkshire Arboretum comments: “The Red Squirrels are housed safely in an open-topped enclosure designed and built entirely by Yorkshire Arboretum staff and volunteers. With a perimeter of steel panels with a non-grip coating and a 3m no-leap zone all around, it is designed to keep Red Squirrels in and Grey Squirrels out. The fence circles 2500m2 of ground, including a grove of oaks and other trees, in which the squirrels can live naturally.”
As part of The Yorkshire Arboretum and Tree Health Centre’s mission to promote healthy trees and woodland, one of the main aims of the project is to educate visitors about the challenges Grey Squirrels cause for Red Squirrels, trees and woodlands.
The Yorkshire Arboretum gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance from The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, a charity founded by His Majesty The King, and the abundant help and encouragement received from many individuals and organisations that has made the project possible, including the UK Squirrel Accord, the BIAZA Red Squirrel Studbook, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Howardian Hills AONB and Ryedale District Council, Castle Howard Estate, the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust, and artist Mark Hearld who created the Red Squirrel logo.
To visit the Red Squirrel Enclosure please book at www.yorkshirearboretum.org/red-squirrels
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