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Red Squirrels Northern England

Red Squirrels Northern England

Thu 8th March 2012

Red squirrels in the UK are under threat from the introduced grey squirrel. Numbers in the UK have fallen from a onetime high thought to be around 3.5 million, to a current estimated population of around 120,000.

The population in England is thought to be as low as 15,000. The most significant threat associated with grey squirrels is the spread and transmission of a disease called squirrelpox virus. Grey squirrels do not suffer from the virus but once a red has become infected they will invariably die within two weeks.

Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) is a new project that aims to increase red squirrel populations through a program of tightly monitored and targeted grey squirrel control. RSNE was officially launched on 17th February 2011 by HRH The Prince of Wales at Hutton-in-the-Forest in Cumbria.

Their work is principally based in Cumbria, Northumberland, Merseyside, Lancashire, north-west Durham and the Yorkshire Dales, in and close to areas where red squirrels are still living free in the landscape.

You can report sightings of red squirrels, join local groups and find out places you can visit where you can enjoy red squirrels.

They also carry out biannual monitoring of red and grey squirrel distribution throughout the north of England.

To find out more about their work, please visit


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