News

Cornwall Today Magazine Article (November 2017)

We are pleased to let you know that there will be an article on the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project in Cornwall Today's November issue. Journalist Liz Norbury interviewed our project coordinator, Natasha, in late September to gain the latest news on CRSP.

Local photographer Charles Francis has taken some beautiful photographs of the red squirrels at Paradise Park in Hayle to accompany the article. We're delighted that he has given permission for one of these to be used as our new Christmas card design too, so these are now available in our online shop too.

 

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Preparing for Red Squirrels on The Lizard (October 2017)

We are well on the way to constructing two red squirrel breeding enclosures at Trelowarren on the Lizard. We are working with Paradise Park, in Hayle, and the National Studbook for Red Squirrels to stock these pens with captive bred red squirrels. These will then become the nucleus of our eventual release population of red squirrels. The pens are just being finished and we hope to welcome pairs and trios of young captive bred red squirrels during the autumn and winter of 2017. Look out for news and photos coming soon!

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New relationship with Daystate Ltd World Class Air Rifles (April 2017)

We are delighted to announce that we have a new sponsor in the form of Daystate, who produce world class air rifles. To start off our relationship Daystate have helped us produce two new videos which outline what we as CRSP are trying to do. You can watch them here:

Tony of Daystate Video

https://youtu.be/P_BrFFFGFgE

Natasha of CRSP Video

https://youtu.be/eGel1miumcg

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Red Squirrel Release Strategy (March 2017)

We are very excited that the project's progress has now reached the point that we can start to plan our red squirrel release strategy. Dr Craig Shuttleworth from the successful Anglesey Red Squirrel Project has written us a strategy that sets out all the steps that need to be in place before we can release red squirrels. This plan has to be followed carefully to make sure the conditions for red squirrels are as good as they can be before we take such a step. Whilst we are still probably a couple of years away from a release it is important that we approach this strategically, with clear goals and steps planned along the way. Not least of these is ensuring that the project complies with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) guidelines for reintroductions, which ensure that the project is scientifically undertaken, complete with monitoring methodologies, and of course with the released animals welfare at its heart. We look forward to following the plan throughout 2017 as we work towards red squirrel release.

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Squirrel Pox Testing Results (Autumn 2016)

In order to track the progress of the grey squirrel removal on The Lizard CRSP carry out a number of monitoring methods. One of these is gathering the biometrics on the numbers of grey squirrels removed, one of them is walking grey squirrel spotting transects, and another is to test for the presence of Squirrel Pox amongst the grey squirrel population.

In order to do this samples are sent off to the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh. Moredun are able to test the samples for squirrel pox antibodies. If antibodies are present then the grey squirrel has been exposed to Squirrel Pox. As we all know Squirrel Pox is fatal to red squirrels, and the primary reason we have so few reds in the UK is because the grey squirrels, which carry the disease, pass Squirrel Pox to the red squirrels. The results of the squirrel pox testing are therefore key when we think about the long term aims of reintroducing red squirrels to Cornwall.

CRSP undertake this testing approximately every eighteen months, and so our second batch of samples was sent of in Summer 2016 and we received the results in the autumn. As with the previous round of testing 30 samples were sent off, taken from discrete areas on the Lizard, with 10 samples taken from each of the north, south and west. This is so that we can look for any geographical differences in squirrel pox presence over time. Pleasingly the prevalence of squirrel pox found has dropped from 100% in the previous round of testing (Winter/Spring 2015) , to 85% prevalence in this round of testing . This still shows a high degree of presence of course, but we hope this is the start of a downward trend in squirrel pox presence within the grey squirrel population. We know from the work undertaken removing grey squirrels from Anglesey that this was one of the early signs they experienced that grey squirrel numbers were declining as we hope our results will prove a similar story. Our next round of testing will be undertaken in summer/ autumn  2017and we will update you with our results then.

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Telegraph Feature for CRSP (Nov 2016)

The Cornwall Red Squirrel Project will be featured in the Telegraph on Saturday 12th November 2016. The article will be in the weekend section, and includes photos taken at Paradise Park.

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Dr Giovanna Massei and Dr Julie Lane to visit CRSP (Nov 2016)

We are delighted to have these two renowned scientists visiting CRSP in November 2016 to give us lectures on their areas of grey squirrel research. Giovanna will be talking about her work on the use of immunocontraceptives in grey squirrels, and Julie will be talking about her latest spring trapping research. If you would like to attend their lectures, which are being held on the 9th November at Trelowarren at 6pm, you can buy tickets in our shop.

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Visit to Escot Red Squirrels  (July 2016)

If you want to see red squirrels in the south west of England one of the best places to go is Escot, near Ottery St Mary in Devon. That's because the squirrels at Escot have free run of a 1 acre paddock, and you can go in with them! The squirrels have become very used to humans and will come very close. These photos were taken using an old mobile phone with no zoom showing just how good a view you can get!


 

 

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New eBook on Red Squirrel Conservation in Practice

A new book to share best practice and the day to day operating methods of red squirrel conservation projects from around the UK has been published as a free downloadable eBook. Edited by Craig M. Shuttleworth (Honorary Research Fellow, Bangor University), Peter W.W. Lurz (The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh) and Elisabeth C. Halliwell (Mammal Ecologist, Natural Resources Wales) the book brings together case studies from 27 red squirrel projects around the UK.

Cornwall is one of the case studies within the eBook, and we hope you enjoy reading about our project as well as the other examples from around the country.

You can download the book from here.

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Dr Craig Shuttleworth to visit CRSP (Oct 2015)

Dr Craig Shuttleworth, acclaimed mastermind of the Anglesey Red Squirrel Project will be visiting CRSP in October.

Craig is renowned for leading the team which successfully conserved what was a tiny population of reds on Angelsey through eradication of grey squirrels and targeted releases of captive bred red squirrels. Thanks to Craig and his small team in Anglesey today there are around 400 red squirrels on the island, up from just 40 in the late 1990's when the project started. The red squirrels on the island are now so sucessful they are even spreading back into mainland Wales. 

Craig is coming to help us produce our Red Squirrel Reintroduction Strategy, which is an important first step on the road to a red squirrel release in Cornwall. Whilst we are still a couple of years away from a release it is important that we approach this strategically, with clear goals and steps planned along the way. Not least of these is ensuring that the project complies with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) guidelines for reintroductions, which ensure that the project is scientifically undertaken, complete with monitoring methodologies, and of course with the released animals welfare at its heart.

Whilst he is here in Cornwall Craig will host "An Evening of Red Squirrels" at the Watergate Bay Hotel in Newquay on Thursday 1st October. Craig is an entertaining speaker and will talk to us about the challenges the Anglesey Red Squirrel Project faced and the solutions it found, as well as the wider picture of red squirrel conservation across Europe. Having just written and published the book Red Squirrels: Ecology, Conservation & Management in Europe Craig is perfectly informed to educate and entertain on this fascinating topic!

We very much hope you will be able to join is. There is further information on our Events page, or you can book tickets straight away in our online shop. Please note Natasha is away from 28th August to 13th September so you will receive booking information either side of these dates.

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Squirrel Pox Testing Results - Spring 2015

In order to track the progress of the grey squirrel removal on The Lizard CRSP carry out a number of monitoring methods. One of these is gathering the biometrics on the numbers of grey squirrels removed, one of them is walking grey squirrel spotting transects, and another is to test for the presence of Squirrel Pox amongst the grey squirrel population.

In order to do this samples are sent off to the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh. Moredun are able to test the samples for squirrel pox antibodies. If antibodies are present then the grey squirrel has been exposed to Squirrel Pox. As we all know Squirrel Pox is fatal to red squirrels, and the primary reason we have so few reds in the UK is because the grey squirrels, which carry the disease, pass Squirrel Pox to the red squirrels. The results of the squirrel pox testing are therefore key when we think about the long term aims of reintroducing red squirrels to Cornwall.

CRSP therefore sent off 30 samples of grey squirrel tissue for analysis. The 30 squirrels came from 3 discrete areas on the Lizard, in the north, south and west with 10 samples taken from each area. This is so that we can look for any geographical differences in squirrel pox presence over time.  Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, all 30 samples came back as being squirrel pox positive. This means that all of the grey squirrels had been exposed to the Squirrel Pox Virus. 

The results show that squirrel pox is widespread amongst the grey squirrel population of the Lizard, and we will repeat the same sample and testing methodology in autumn 2015 to see if there has been any change.

 

South West 2014 Kits Round Up!

What a year it's been for red squirrels in the south west! We can only hope the same has happened with wild red squirrels across the country. At both Trewithen and Paradise Park two kits were born this summer, and are now doing well. These four kits and their parents are part of the National Studbook for Red Squirrels which means that offspring are disease tested and microchipped so that each individual is identifiable and can be paired up according to its genetics (important in a species with a small gene pool). This also means that when the squirrels are released individuals can be identified, which is essential for monitoring purposes.

However, Escot Park, near Ottery St Mary in Devon, has topped the breeding stakes in terms of numbers with a grand total of 21 kits produced! These have been sent to the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey which breeds red squirrels, and originally bred the red squirrels which can be seen in Escot's walk through enclosure. We can highly recommend a visit if you are in the Exeter area! One of their kits is shown below.


 

Exciting News - Red Squirrels Born in Cornwall!

We've heard the exciting news today that the red squirrels at Trewithen have produced their first kits, as baby red squirrels are known! Head Gardener Gary Long says that there are at least two kits in the nest, and we'll know for sure how many there are when they emerge in a week or so.

The red squirrels at Trewithen are part of a National Studbook for red squirrels and so the young will go on to be released as part of red squirrel conservation projects in the UK, or will go on to form part of other captive breeding projects. The male red squirrel is on loan from Paradise Park in Hayle which has had great success breeding red squirrels over the years, and the two females are from the Welsh Mountain Zoo, from which the National Studbook is run.

One of the babies peeking out from the greenery is especially sweet, see the picture below!

 

 

CRSP are seeking an Interreg Project Manager

Do you have experience of delivery cross channel Interreg projects? If so you could be just who we are looking for! In readiness for what we hope will be a succesful CRSP application to Interreg we are seeking applications for an Interreg Project Manager post. The applicant will be required for on average one day a week for 12 to 15 months, but on occasion blocks of time will be required, including for visits to our French partner. You can download the job description here. http://www.cornwallredsquirrels.co.uk/USERIMAGES/Interreg PM Job Advertisement .pdf

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CRSP in the media again...

CRSP enjoyeds great  media coverage both regionally and nationally so we're delighted to be able to report our latest articles have appeared in the national Songbird Survival magazine, the Red Squirrels North of England Newsletter and the Western Morning News. In case you missed the original you can read the special two page spread which appeared in the Western Morning news on the 5th August 2013 here.

We'll also be having a special feature in the December 2013 issue of "Cornwall Today" so keep an eye out for that when it comes out!

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CRSP raise £11,780 from annual fundraising dinner and auction

Wow, what a great evening we all had at the CRSP Annual Fundraising Dinner and Auction! This year the event was held at the Tregenna Castle Hotel in St Ives as we simply had so many people wanting to come we couldn't fit into our 2012 venue of The Nare Hotel on the Roseland.

As usual the auction attracted some keen bidding for some of the "money can't buy" prizes, which meant the grand total from the dinner was £11,780. Huge thanks go to Ben Messer-Bennets the auctioneer, all the friends of CRSP who came, and of course the very generous donors who kindly gave prizes for the auction.

The dinner next year will be a Grand Summer Ball in September 2014... the very special venue will be announced later in the year!

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New Recruit for CRSP

 CRSP are delighted to welcome Dave Fineren as our new Squirrel Ranger. Dave comes from a countryside management background, and has eight years experience working with DEFRA. A keen conservationist Dave describes this as his "dream job". We hope you'll all get to meet him soon if you haven't already.

With Dave on board we will now be able to offer more field based support to land owners who would like help or advice with controlling their grey squirrels. Please feel free to contact Dave on 07811 343515.

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 Love is in the air!

Taken on Valentine's day at Trewithen two of the three red squirrels share a quick kiss. We hope to have news of baby red squirrels later in the year!

 

 

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We were sent some beautiful photo's yesterday of the red squirrels at Escot (near Ottery St Mary in Devon) playing in the snow. They're so lovely we thought you might like to see them too!

 

Photo's courtesy of Richard Austin - www.richardaustinimages.com

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 Hear all the latest on the red squirrels at Trewithen on Radio Cornwall

The red squirrels at Trewithen were featured on Radio Cornwall not once but twice on Friday 4th January! The three red squirrels have been followed closely by the media since their arrival and the two interviews, a short one on the Breakfast Show and a longer one on Pam Spriggs' show, allowed listeners to hear how the three are settling in, and what the chances are for baby red squirrel kits in 2013!

Don't worry if you missed it, you can listen using the link below. Just pull the timing bar at the bottom along to 2 hours and 36 minutes into the programme to hear the report.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p012b8xm 

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New Dick Twinney Red Squirrel Painting

We are delighted to announce that local artist Dick Twinney has just completed a new red squirrel painting entitled "Winter Sun - Red Squirrel and Scots Pine" and is offering CRSP a donation from each picture sold via our online shop.

The picture comes as a fine art giclee print on archival paper. The image size is 30 cm x 22 cm, and the cost is £35 each, plus £4 postage and packing.

There are only 50 of the signed, limited edition prints available, which can be ordered from our online shop.

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Leading squirrel pox scientist confirmed for conference

CRSP are delighted to confirm that Dr Colin McInnes from the Moredun research institute will be speaking our forthcoming conservation conference. Colin is the leading squirrel pox scientist in the UK, and has been working towards a squirrel pox vaccine for red squirrels for some years. Such a vaccine would revolutionise red squirrel conservation, as innoculated red squirrels would have much greater protection from the squirrel pox virus if they came into contact with grey squirrels, which carry the pox virus.

We look forward to hearing the latest from Colin at our conference on Friday the 19th April 2013. See our Conservation Conference page to book, everyone is welcome.

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Cornwall Red Squirrels in the Media

It's been a busy couple of weeks for CRSP, with some excellent national media coverage.

First CRSP supporter Robin Page mentioned us in the Telegraph article "Standing Up for the Red Squirrel", then Country Life did a double page feature on CRSP, including a red squirrel on the front cover, and last week The Guardian ran a piece on CRSP as part of their "Saving the Species" special.

If you missed the articles the first time you can see them all using the links below.

Robin Page article in The Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/9509913/Country-diary-standing-up-for-the-red-squirrel.html 

Country Life article:

http://www.countrylife.co.uk/countryside/article/530223/The-return-of-the-red-squirrel-.html 

The Guardian article:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/05/red-grey-squirrels-cornwall
 

 

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Royal Release for Red Squirrel!

The breeding enclosure of red squirrels at Trewithen has its final resident! A young male red squirrel has been released into the enclosure by HRH The Prince of Wales, during his visit to Cornwall in July. The male red squirrel was bred at Paradise Park near Hayle and was brought to Trewithen after being weaned from his mother, blood tested to make sure he was healthy, and microchipped to ensure he can be easily identified.

The trio form part of the National Stud Book for red squirrels, which ensures red squirrels bred within it are genetially diverse, and so as "fit" as possible. This is essential for the health of future red squirrel populations, which in the wild can become inbred where small, isolated, numbers of red squirrels exist, for example in conifer plantations where grey squirrels surround the blocks of woodland and so isolate the reds.

    

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Charity Registration

Cornwall Red Squirrel Project is delighted to announce it has become a registered charity! Our registration number is 1147887.

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 Cornwall Red Squirrel Project on Film!

Exeter University student Mark Fox has produced a short video which explains the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project. You can see it on Youtube using the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iSDDJzNUlQ

If you like what you see Mark has two other red squirrel videos also on Youtube which talk about other red squirrel initatives in the UK.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV1mfefR-A4 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtWFfIGga9Q
 

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New Red Squirrel Cards

We are delighted to be working with talented nature photography student Mark Fox, who is studying at Tremough Campus, Falmouth.

Our new merchandise is now available in the online shop, and includes blank cards featuring some of Mark's red squirrel photographs.

  

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There are now red squirrels at Trewithen, near Grampound!

Michael Galsworthy, owner of Trewithen, is one of the founders of CRSP, and fondly remembers red squirrels on the lawn of Trewithen in 1953. The Trewithen pen is only the second breeding population of red squirrels in Cornwall, the other being Paradise Park near Hayle, which has supplied two of the three Trewithen squirrels. The two females will be joined shortly by a male squirrel, who has been selected using the National Stud Book of red squirrels as being a suitable unrelated partner for the females.

If you would like to visit the Trewithen squirrels you can see the opening hours of Trewithen gardens on their website here.

One of the aims of the Trewithen breeding population is to provide an educational resource. If you are interested in organising a school or adult group visit then please contact the CRSP Project Cordinator.

It is hoped that the Trewithen squirrels will breed and that their offspring will provide a valubale resource for red squirrel conservation in the UK. Paradise Park has previosly provided red squirrels for wild release on Angelsey, and the new breeding population at Trewithen will mean more young red squirrels are available for wild release. It is hoped that at some point in the future the red squirrels from Trewithen may even be released into Cornwall as part of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project.

The arrival of the red squirrels was featured on ITV Westcountry's 6pm news on the 27th March (their arrival day):

http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2012-03-27/red-squirrels-released-in-cornwall/

    

You can read the West Briton report on the Trewithen squirrels at:

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Natives-Red-squirrels-reintroduced-estate/story-15654892-detail/story.html

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CRSP now has a full time project co-ordinator:

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Natasha-spearheads-battle-reintroduce-red/story-13327442-detail/story.html