Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Race Is on to Save Our Squirrel; Environment Today A New Offensive Is Being Launched against the Grey Squirrel

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Race Is on to Save Our Squirrel; Environment Today A New Offensive Is Being Launched against the Grey Squirrel

Article excerpt

Byline: Environment Editor Tony Henderson reports

THE front line is being moved forward in the fight for the survival of the red squirrel in the North-East.

A conference next month will bring together a wide range of individuals and organisations to try to hold back the relentless advance of the invading grey squirrel, while attempting to give the reds every advantage.

The event at Stannington Village Hall in Northumberland on Friday, October 5, is being led by Castle Morpeth Council, in partnership with the Save Our Squirrels project, the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership, and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

It is aimed at local authorities, farmers, land and estate managers, public utilities, developers, hospital site managers, environmental organisations and others with an interest and potential role in preventing the extinction of the reds in the region.

The hope is a strong alliance can be forged to see what more can be done in addition to the current policy of setting up 16 woodland red squirrel reserves surrounded by 5km buffer zones.

Northumberland's red squirrel reserves are at Kyloe, near Holy Island; Kidland and Uswayford, near Alwinton; Harwood, near Rothbury; Raylees, near Otterburn; Kielder, Dipton/Dukeshouse Wood, and Healey/Kellas near Corbridge and Slaley/Dukesfield, near Hexham.

In Cumbria they are at Greystoke and Whinfell, near Penrith and Whinlatter and Thirlmere, near Keswick.

Sponsors for the conference include Wansbeck Council, Morpeth Town Council, Groundwork Northumberland, Blagdon Hall and NPIL Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

"The aim is to mobilise everyone to work together to save our reds squirrels," said Sam Talbot, Castle Morpeth coast and countryside officer.

"We are losing our reds pretty quickly and we want to set up buffer zones in front of the buffer zones instead of fighting the entire battle on a last line of defence. …

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