A new publication by wildlife author Jane Russ features the work of the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership. This is the latest title in a series of introductions to British wildlife from Graffeg.
A native species of the UK dating back almost 10,000 years, since the turn of the twentieth century the red squirrel has sadly been in decline – the population plummeted from around 3.5 million during the 1950s to around 140,000 in recent years. Instantly recognisable despite being a rare sight today, this fall has been attributed to a variety of factors, particularly the presence of grey squirrels, which were introduced from North America between 1876 and 1929. The squirrel parapox virus, carried by greys and fatal to red squirrels, as well as their higher concentration of numbers of greys and their ability to better compete for food in different habitats, has had an enormous effect.
In the post-war period around 50 per cent and even up to 100 per cent of ancient forests in areas of England and Wales were destroyed, which was again devastating for the red squirrel, which can spend as much as 70 per cent of its in the leafy canopies overhead. However, conservationists emphasise that such shifts are not set in stone. Peter Smith, Chief Executive of the Wildwood Trust, stated earlier this year: ‘It’s not yet too late. If we can help restore areas of woodland to a native state and make a concerted effort, we might just be able to tip the balance back in the red squirrel’s favour.’
The dedicated work of the Wildlife Trusts and initiatives UK-wide, such as The Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership and Red Squirrels Trust Wales, have seen some improvements, and it was reported earlier this year that numbers in Scotland have stabilised following a 2017 survey. Such work may eventually allow for everyday encounters with this ever-popular creature.
An accessible but highly informative guide, The Red Squirrel Book introduces the reader to their physiology, characteristics, habitats and behaviours, as well as their continued place in the British consciousness. The text is complemented throughout by a range of stunning images, exhibiting their unique character in action and providing a wonderful insight into what we could stand to lose.
A compact, portable and affordable title, this book is both an important reminder of the threat posed to one of our best-loved species, as well as an ideal purchase or gift for all lovers of British wildlife.
This delightful little book retails at £9.99, but Graffeg have provided members of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales with a fantastic pre-Christmas opportunity to purchase this book at a bargain £8 (plus £1.50 postage) if ordered by 10th December. Every purchase will include a donation of £3 to the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project. All orders will be despatched shortly after the 26th November.
How to Order
If you would like to order one of these delightful little books, either:
- Send a cheque made payable to ‘WTSWW’ to Martin Jones, Retail Manager, The Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran, Cardigan SA43 2TB; mark your envelope 'Red Squirrel Book' and include your delivery address.
- To pay by credit/debit card phone 01239 621600
- Make payment via your Paypal account using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and then email Martin Jones via email@example.com with the number of books ordered and your delivery address.