Increase in greys sightings

The native red squirrel
The native red squirrel

In recent weeks the Glens Red Squirrel Group has been inundated with grey squirrel sightings all across the Glens.

The increase in sightings has been a shock to the group for many it has been their first time to see a grey squirrel in the Glens.

A spokesperson for the group said: “Our local red squirrels are under threat from their invasive cousin the grey squirrel. The grey squirrel carries Squirrel Pox which is fatal to red squirrels; there has already been an outbreak of this virus in an isolated pocket of reds at St. Killian’s College at Garron this year, which was caused by a small number of greys there.

“It is vital local land owners keep an eye out for greys on their ground in any small planted woodlands or heavily planted areas. If the land owners are aware of grey squirrels on their ground the group would be willing to assist or advise on their removal. There are several land owners across the Glens already working with the group. There are more locations requiring our attention and we can do so with the use of non intrusive camera traps, giving the group and land owners an idea of the wildlife in an area.”

During the month of October the group will be running four walks in local forestry’s across the Glens. This will be to inform people of the work we do and to show them what they should look for when they’re out and about to determine where squirrels are.

The planned walks are: 4th October Ballycastle Forest 1.30pm meeting at Fairhill car park; 11th October Creagagh Wood Glendun 1:30pm meeting at St. Patrick’s Church car park; 18th October Glenariff forest park 1:30pm meeting at the Education Centre; 25th October Glenarm Forest 1:30pm meeting at the Forestry Car park

Book your place by calling 0871 315 7376 or by emailing info@glensredsquirrelgroup.com with your name, number attending and contact number. Walks are not suited for prams or dogs to try and increase the chance of seeing squirrels. The Glens Red Squirrel Group would ask everyone to keep reporting their sightings through web page www.glensredsquirrelgroup.com, by phoning our hotline number 08713157376 or through our FaceBook page.