Red squirrels have been surviving in an isolated area of mid Wales since before the incursion of American Greys. The Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership was founded in 2002 to protect our native red squirrels and learn more about them. Since then, the partnership has discovered a unique mid Wales haplotype through DNA work- proving that these red squirrels are a relic population, and not redistributed or relocated from other areas of the UK. The partnership is currently led by WTSWW, and the current project “Healthy Reds” has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and by WCVA and the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.
More recently, the Clywedog woods near Lampeter have shown to be an important area for these protected Reds, with camera survey work providing regular records of red squirrels there. Unfortunately, in the winter of 2019-2020, essential Larch felling had to be carried out, overlapping with some of our regular record locations.
Thankfully, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are a member of the Partnership, and we were able to meet with the local managers and discuss the issue. NRW staff were fantastic and ensured that the contractors working on site were aware of the presence of red squirrels. They also marked around multiple squirrel dreys we identified in the canopy, these trees, and large buffer areas around these trees were not felled, and left as standing deadwood, enabling any squirrels resident time to relocate.
Since the felling was completed in mid-March, we have been thrilled to have picked up lots of camera trap footage not far from the previous locations, or where the felling had taken place.
We have also picked up images with multiple red squirrels in one image, which is great news for potential breeding in the area.