Mid Wales Red Squirrels

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Have you seen a Red Squirrel in Mid Wales lately?

Since the grey squirrel colonised, red squirrels have largely vanished from Wales. Until the late 1950s, the red squirrel was a common sight in mid Wales and an integral part of the Welsh landscape. In 1958, a schoolteacher from Rhandirmwyn stated that a child had come into school with a report of a grey squirrel, one of the first in the area! From then onwards it was downhill for the red squirrel, as the larger and more robust grey squirrel quickly moved into local woodlands, eating much of the available food and spreading squirrelpox virus, which the greys are immune to, but which is fatal to red squirrels. A law was passed in 1938 banning further importation of grey squirrels, but the damage had been done; inadvertently heralding the demise of the red squirrel in Britain.

We now have only a little over a thousand red squirrels hanging on in Wales, in Anglesey, in the north east of the country, and here in mid Wales. Anglesey is the real success-story in Wales; as part of a restoration project, they have cleared greys from the island and boosted the population of reds, thought to be as low as 40 individuals less than 20 years ago; Anglesey is now home to as many as 700 red squirrels. The Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project (MWRSP) is a much younger project than its northern counterpart, but with the help of funding, originally through Environment Wales, a former Welsh Government funded initiative, work is getting underway to save the population of reds in mid Wales too.

See our Red Squirrel Press Release for more information on this.