What We Do
Our aim is to maintain south Scotland as a stronghold of our native red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) which has disappeared from most of Britain.
Over the last eight years the project has established an extensive network of foresters, local enthusiasts, agencies, communities and farmers. 24 Red Squirrel Priority Woodlandswere selected and guidance documents created for each one to ensure their positive management for red squirrels. 3km buffer zones around the Priority Woodlands have been established involving extensive work with local communities. Collaboration is continuing between RSSS and foresters tomanage these habitat refuges with activities focussing on appropriate felling programmes and the reintroduction of tree species that will provide red squirrels with a reliable and diverse food source in the long term.
The next two years of the project will focus on:
- - Halting or at least slowing down the spread of the deadly
- - Contolling grey squirrels sufficiently to allow red squirrel
populations in south Scotland to survive.
RSSS Trap Loan Scheme
Our Trap Loan Scheme, which involves the distribution of greysquirrel traps to landowners and members of the public, has expanded rapidly over the past two years. Each person receiving traps is trained in best practice trapping and dispatch methods and in the collection of blood samples for analysis. Our Squirrelpox Surveillance Program is also very successful with many blood samples being collected throughout south Scotland by volunteers and grey squirrel controllers in order to identify the spread of the Squirrelpox virus through the region.
RSSS control methods
RSSS control methods are considered by DEFRA as the most humane method of control under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. All individuals undertaking control on behalf of this project must abide by the practices and standards outlined in the project’s Standard Operating Procedures for Grey Squirrel Control. All RSSS staff and volunteers are trained to follow these standards when undertaking control on behalf of the Project.