Red squirrels returning to Aberdeen woodlands in increasing numbers

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Red squirrels have made a resurgence in Aberdeen woodlands, while their grey cousins have gone two years without being detected.

Feeder box monitoring and camera trapping carried out in Countesswells and Foggieton Woods, near the city, show red squirrel numbers are increasing in the area.

The work by Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) and Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels (SSRS) also shows the woodlands are free from the non-native species.

Philippa Murphy, environment manager for the FES team in the area, said: "We put some sticky tape on the feeder boxes to collect hairs and these, once analysed, showed that the number of red squirrels recorded in these woodlands are increasing year on year, suggesting more and more red squirrels are taking advantage of the free treats on offer.

"But the best news is that we've got no trace of grey squirrels, which tend to drive reds away from local habitats.

"It's a great reward for us too - it's like getting a thumbs up from the red squirrels for our sensitive management of the forests around Aberdeen."

Measures taken include minimising the amount of large clearfell sites and maximising the number of tree types favoured by red squirrels.

There has been no evidence of grey squirrels in the area for the last two years.

This work will continue to be supported by FES with more funding from the AWPR Offset Mitigation Fund.

Members of the public can support red squirrel conservation by reporting sightings of red and grey squirrels on the Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels website.