Blog


UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) blog publishes posts from various signatories and stakeholders. These showcase the range of sectors, expertise, knowledge and views that support or complement the aims of UKSA.


UKSA is a diverse partnership that represents a range of sectors as well as viewpoints. Communications, publications, blog posts and other statements and documents made or published on this website or under the name of UKSA in any other location must not be taken as reflecting the views of all or any particular signatories to the Accord.


If you are interested in contributing to the UKSA blog, please contact info@squirrelaccord.uk with your proposal.


2022-09-30 | Saving the red squirrel - an update from the field
Funded by the UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) and supporters, the Animal & Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) Wildlife Team is developing an oral contraceptive and species specific feeding hopper to manage populations of grey squirrels in the UK. This work hopes to reduce the damaging effects they have on native red squirrels, trees and woodland ecosystems. For Red Squirrel Awareness Week 2022, Sarah Beatham provides an update on hopper progress....

2022-07-10 | Press Notice: Grey squirrel fertility control research hits key milestone
Oral contraceptives that could significantly reduce grey squirrel populations in the UK are displaying positive results in ongoing research, the UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) has announced today. UKSA is funding research into a fertility control for grey squirrels that will offer an additional, non-lethal method to manage the population of this species. The resulting oral contraceptive and species-specific feeding hopper will support reductions in grey squirrel numbers to protect red squirrels and trees....

2022-02-09 | International Women and Girls in Science Day 2022 - APHA team
Members of the Animal and Plant Health Agency team delivering the UK Squirrel Accord funded grey squirrel fertility control research help celebrate today’s International Women and Girls in Science Day. Discover more about their involvement in the fascinating worlds of wildlife and science. Dr Giovanna Massei - Senior Ecologist I lead a research group working on human-wildlife conflicts and am also the Europe director of the Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control....

2021-10-25 | Developing a grey squirrel feeder for targeted contraceptive delivery
How can an oral contraceptive be fed to 2.5 million grey squirrels? Research to develop an oral contraceptive for grey squirrels is now entering its fourth year. As these contraceptives may affect other mammals, one of the most important parts of the research is to design a bait hopper that only grey squirrels can feed from. This is a summary by researcher Sarah Beatham on some of the work carried out with Northumberland red squirrel community groups this summer, to test if red squirrels and other animals could be prevented from feeding from the hoppers....

2021-09-21 | The not-so-secret red squirrel island
The Isle of Wight has long been a haven for red squirrels, Sciurus vulgaris, thanks to the, just substantial enough, stretch of water known as The Solent, that separates the island from the mainland. The presence of the Solent and lack of any fixed connection (bridge or tunnel) to the mainland makes The Isle of Wight a very important stronghold for English red squirrels. In the UK, our native red squirrel’s story is inextricably linked with that of the eastern grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, introduced from North America....

2021-08-17 | Tracking red squirrels in the Highlands
With temperatures as low as -15°C, steep hills, bogs, fallen trees and midges, radio-tracking squirrels in the Highlands has its challenges - but it also has plenty of rewards. A study is being carried to investigate the effect of forestry operations on red squirrels. Asking what do squirrels do when you cut down their trees? Where do they go? Do they all survive? To answer these questions, squirrels are fitted with collars that contain small VHF transmitters, and then tracked before, during and after the forestry operations taking place....

2021-05-11 | Grey squirrel tree damage evidence
UK Squirrel Accord is gathering visual evidence of grey squirrel bark stripping damage to broadleaf trees. We are looking for photos or videos of bark stripping in action, or the subsequent damage caused to trees. If you can help, please get in touch and email images or footage directly to info@squirrelaccord.uk or use Wetransfer to send larger files. Grey squirrels bark strip trees between April and August each year....

2021-03-23 | Reclaiming Reds: making Knowsley a place for red squirrels
Reclaiming Reds is a recently launched project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It aims to directly connect the public with strategic conservation action to pave the way for red squirrels to thrive once again on the Knowsley Estate and surrounding areas. A green refuge in the heart of a predominantly urban area, the Knowsley Estate has always been home to the native red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris. The estate combines exceptional natural habitats with a concerted effort to manage the landscape in favour of red squirrels....

2021-01-20 | Managing invasive non-native grey squirrels to safeguard our native red squirrels and woodland biodiversity
An invasive non-native species (INNS) is one that has a negative impact on the environment, economy or our health and our way of life. Globally, INNS are one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss, contributing to 40% of animal extinctions that occurred in the last 400 years.[1] There are 30 invasive non-native animal species listed as a concern in the UK because of their invasiveness and ability to establish successfully, often to the detriment of native species[2]....

2020-11-28 | Red squirrels thrive in Lowther's woods
The Lowther Estate is in the North East Lake District, in Cumbria - the heart of a stronghold for red squirrels - something that is very important to both the estate and landscape. The estate aims to work with nature through the in-house farm and commercial forestry. Lowther’s red squirrels are an important part of the estate’s aims. As a family-owned estate that has practiced forestry for many centuries there is a relationship between the woodlands and the density of squirrels they are able to support....

2020-11-08 | Origami red squirrels raising awareness
Origami is an interactive and fun way to raise awareness of the threats to red squirrel survival and the importance of efforts to save them. While practicing this art of paper folding, people can also enjoy the many therapeutic benefits origami has to offer. The Red Squirrel Origami Project (RSOP) aims to promote red squirrel conservation and raise awareness of declines in the UK population....

2020-09-19 | Fertility research - news from the field
As a partnership, the UK Squirrel Accord is fundraising for research into an oral contraceptive for grey squirrel management. This research is conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and is still achieving results, despite the current pandemic. The project on oral contraceptives for grey squirrel management is currently in its third year. While the pandemic has made things more challenging, it has not prevented an important part of the fieldwork being carried out over the summer....

2020-02-14 | Protecting the UK's trees from grey squirrel damage - House of Lords debate
Grey squirrels are damaging important broadleaf trees and causing local extinctions of the native red squirrel. The oral contraceptive being researched by the UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) is seen as a new hope for protecting tree health from this invasive species. The grey squirrel situation is so serious that it was part of a key House of Lords debate on threats from tree pests and diseases - 13 February 2020 - and was directly highlighted by 14 of the 24 speakers....

2020-01-20 | Red Squirrel Appreciation Day 2020
Red squirrels are an important part of the UK’s wildlife, but their future is under threat. On Red Squirrel Appreciation Day, 21 January, we look at the issue of ensuring their survival through invasive species management. Introducing non-native species to areas of the world they would not naturally be able to reach is one of the biggest causes of biodiversity loss around the world. Invasive non-native species are among the top five threats to UK wildlife....

2019-12-03 | Great Scottish Squirrel Survey 2019 results
In September this year Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels launched the very first Great Scottish Squirrel Survey, a campaign that encouraged people in Scotland to spend some time enjoying the outdoors while keeping a lookout for tufted ears and bushy tails. In just one week over 600 people took part, submitting 828 verified red and grey squirrel sightings on our website, scottishsquirrels.org.uk. This was a fantastic result for the project – in a more typical week it receives around 180 sightings....

2019-11-28 | Biggest threat to the National Forest – grey squirrels
Grey squirrel bark stripping threatens trees and all the hard work people have put in to grow the National Forest over the last 25 years. The National Forest Company is working to develop a landscape-scale approach to managing grey squirrels to protect woodland. The National Forest is a 200 square mile area of the Midlands that has been the focus of mixed, native woodland planting for the last 25 years....

2019-11-24 | A new hope for grey squirrel management - fertility control research update
The UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) partnership is fundraising for research into an oral contraceptive to tackle the negative impacts the invasive non-native grey squirrel causes to native red squirrels and broadleaf trees. As thousands of trees are planted during National Tree Week 2019, we celebrate our success towards developing a new method to help protect those trees from grey squirrel bark stripping damage. The research into the immunocontraceptive is being carried out by the well-respected Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)....

2019-10-23 | UK Squirrel Accord photography competition 2019 - winning images
Winning image: red squirrel at Wooler Common by Nicholas Box Red squirrel beautifully framed by a gnarled old tree stump Thank you to everyone who submitted such beautiful images for our recent photography competition. There are a lot of keen and talented photographers out there and it was difficult to choose between the photographs sent in. This blog congratulates two winning images and highlights four highly commended - your prizes will be on their way....

2019-09-23 | Red Squirrel Awareness Week 2019 celebrations
Red squirrel image by Nicholas Box. Red squirrels were once a common sight across the UK, but their numbers severely declined during the 20th Century and active conservation efforts were needed to protect them. Red Squirrel Awareness Week aims to highlight their plight and celebrate the wonderful work of volunteer groups, organisations and projects striving to save them. During this week, 23-29 September, there are activities and events planned by a variety of these important groups and projects in different areas of the UK....

2019-09-01 | New UK Squirrel Accord website launch & photography competition
Welcome to the new and refreshed website for the UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) partnership. Please find useful information on red and grey squirrels, their conservation and management, tree health, the fertility control research, and more. We aim for this to be a hub to share knowledge and best practice from across difference sectors, organisations and individuals involved in delivering the aims of UKSA. UKSA works collaboratively to preserve the UK’s wooded landscapes and associated biodiversity under the following aims to:...