Visitors to Wildwood in Kent are in for a treat this week as the first baby red squirrels, born just 3 weeks ago, have been spotted venturing out of their nest boxes.
Once the new babies mature, Wildwood will release them as part of their red squirrel conservation project. Aimed at preventing the nationwide extinction of red squirrels, the plan is to reintroduce them to two sites in Wales to live wild and free, helping form a population to safeguard and expand the species.
Successful efforts were made by the Vincent Wildlife Trust to reintroduce pine martens over the past three years. It is now hoped the red squirrel can compete with invasive grey squirrels from North America to once again become part of our lives, eventually being restored across Southern Britain.
Red squirrels became extinct in Kent in the 1960’s, although many do remember seeing them in childhood as Kent and other similar areas once teemed with these beautiful acrobats of the trees.
Peter Smith of Wildwood Trust’s said:
“Red squirrels are one of the most beautiful animals in the U.K. and visitors can watch these playful animals over the summer until they have grown up enough to be released to the wild. If we can help restore areas of woodland to a native state, reintroduce animals like Pine Martens to control invasive grey squirrels, we might just be able to tip the balance back in the Red Squirrel’s favour. Our eventual plan is to once again see them back across Southern Britain, including Kent.
“Wildwood Trust, as a charity, is committed to restoring our native and once native species and will continue to champion the restoration of natural woodlands.”
Red Squirrels are just some of the huge range of British animals that can be seen at the Wildwood Discovery Park near Canterbury. For more information visit www.wildwoodtrust.org or call 01227 712111.