The Northern Ireland Squirrel Forum (NISF), in partnership with Red Squirrel Groups across Northern Ireland, is launching an innovative scheme to highlight the threat that roads pose to one of our most iconic protected mammals, the Red Squirrel.
Through funding received from the NGO Challenge Fund, wheelie bin stickers have been produced to highlight the threat that vehicular traffic pose to red squirrels, appealing to drivers to ‘Kill Your Speed, Not Our Red Squirrels’.
Road traffic incidents cause the deaths of many wild animals but these losses can be particularly significant for the small isolated populations of red squirrels.
Northern Ireland’s local squirrel groups working within their local communities have identified several ‘accident black spots’ in the areas of Northern Ireland which still hold strong red squirrel populations.
Road deaths were a particular concern to members of the Glens Red Squirrel Group; these groups working with other and members of the NISF including Ulster Wildlife came up with the cost effective idea that exploits the weekly bin collection run.
Daniel McAfee Chair of the Glens RSG said; “I was sitting at temporary traffic lights and I noticed the bins at the end of the drives and wondered if we could use the space to catch the driver’s eye. Too many red squirrels are victims of the car. This loss stops the reds spreading out from our strongholds and starting new populations in neighbouring woodland.”
Local residents can use the bin as a mobile sign board warning drivers that red squirrels are crossing the roads in the area. Hopefully it makes some drivers slow down for squirrels, so that ‘Tufty’ gets across the road safely.
Funding for the Bin Stickers was kindly provided through the Environment Ministers NGO Challenge Fund.
Key areas in the Glens where red squirrels are at risk are the Glenariff Road and the Glen Road in Glenariff. Glendun a combination of the Loughareema Road, Curhleake road, Glenarm Munie Road, the Torr Road,Ballypatrick Loughareema road, Layde Road Cushendall and the Glenshesk Road Glenshesk. These roads in total have had 54 red killed on them over the last few years and these are just the ones that have been reported.
If you see reds or greys while out in the Glens we would like to hear from you. You can contact our hot line number 08713157376 or web page www.glensredsquirrelgroup.com or find us on Facebook.