Red squirrel populations have declined since the introduction of the grey squirrel in 1876 and it is now thought there are less than 140,000 red squirrels left in the UK. Red squirrels are afforded the highest level of protection under UK law in the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (The Wildlife & Countryside (Northern Ireland) Order 1985).
Significant progress has been made by local and regional red squirrel conservation initiatives in halting the decline of the red squirrel populations and controlling the spread of grey squirrel populations, but they are not safe yet. Constant conservation effort is likely to be needed for as long as grey squirrels are present nearby.
This project is the first national UK network aiming to join up these successful regional initiatives to conserve, protect and promote our native red squirrels and increase community involvement in red squirrel conservation.