Cumbria Crack

Lake District Foundation launches Red Squirrel Campaign 2019

A red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) Photo Luke Massey

The Lake District Foundation has launched a campaign to raise funds to support Red Squirrel Conservation.

The Lake District Foundation has a target of £20,000. This will fund much needed monitoring equipment and materials vital in the conservation of this iconic Cumbrian species.

With 14 dedicated local groups working tirelessly to protect the reds, evidence suggests that their conservation efforts are working and that, with collaboration between local projects, volunteer groups and local communities, red squirrels can still thrive.

Research shows that the most serious threat are the larger non-native grey squirrel, who not only outcompete the smaller red for food, but also carry a disease, squirrel pox, which is deadly to the reds. However, thanks to the work of volunteers, research shows that where reds and greys are kept apart, red squirrels can thrive.

Sarah Swindley, CEO Lake District Foundation, said “Teams of volunteers work really hard across the county to protect this amazing creature. Our role at the LDF is to connect people who love the landscape, wildlife and culture of the Lake District with practical conservation work. The sight of a Red Squirrel is very special and Cumbria is one of the best places in the country to see them. Let’s work together to ensure that’s always the case.”

Simon O’Hare, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “A recent study (not yet published) found that red squirrels were present in 64% of surveys within Cumbria, proving once again that the county is one of the best places to see this delightful species. However, reds are only thriving here due to the relentless commitment of hundreds of volunteers, who work tirelessly to preserve them. We greatly welcome this new fundraising initiative that will raise critical funds to help us protect reds.”

Examples of how a donation could be spent:

  • £15 will buy a squirrel-only feeder to provide supplementary food to reds
  • £20 will buy a feeder cleaning equipment to help prevent the spread of squirrel pox virus, a disease carried by grey squirrels and fatal to reds
  • £30 will buy a 30kg bag of squirrel food specially tailored for reds
  • £45 will enable a volunteer to undergo essential training in conservation skills
  • £70 will hire a contractor for a day to carry out work in large, remote woodlands to manage grey squirrels or monitor for reds
  • £100 will buy a trail camera pack to monitor squirrels in woodlands
  • £250 will buy a projector to help a red squirrel group to deliver talks to local communities, raising awareness and engaging new volunteers
  • £1300 will buy a thermal imaging camera to identify squirrels in high canopy or dense foliage, massively increasing the effectiveness of volunteer time

To donate Text savereds to 70085 or visit

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