New Northern Ireland red squirrel strategy published - 11.04.2022
Newly published ten-year strategy to conserve red squirrels in Northern Ireland outlines key priorities needed for the long-term survival of this important mammal. Thanks to conservation action, Northern Ireland’s red squirrels are recovering and the strategy supports partnership work to enable this to continue. The document compliments the red squirrel strategies in Scotland and Wales. An action plan for England will be published in the next few months.
Volunteer of the Year award 2021 - 25.03.2022
Congratulations to Glens Red Squirrel Group’s Gerard McCaughan for winning the Red Squirrel Survival Trust’s Volunteer of the Year award for 2021. Gerard said: “I was surprised I’d been nominated let alone won. I felt chuffed and embarrassed in equal measures. I think it’s a reflection of what we do as a group, rather than what I do myself.” The bronze squirrel was awarded to Gerard at a group meeting.
Keep an eye out for the opening of nominations for Volunteer of the Year 2022. Nominate someone you would like to see recognised for their dedication to red squirrel conservation.
International Day of Forests webinar - 21.03.2022
Join red squirrel experts for our free online webinar for the International Day of Forests. Speakers look at woodland habitats, red squirrels and pine marten recovery. Confirmed speakers (others tbc) and topics:
Josh Twining - habitat types affecting pine marten and red/grey squirrel interactions
Heinz Traut - red squirrel strongholds in Northern England
Louise de Raad - impacts of forest operations on red squirrels
A Q&A with the speakers will follow the presentations. If you have any questions, please include them in your registration or ask them on the day. We hope you can join us.
Register online via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_cAgtbLu8SCa_isiKwMR4dw
New UK Squirrel Accord newsletter - 10.01.2022
The latest UK Squirrel Accord newsletter is available online to read and share. It includes an update on our fertility control research (now in year four), information on our Red Squirrel Appreciation Day 2022 Twitterstorm (21 January 2022, 12:00-14:00), news from Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, changes to forestry legislation in Wales, some of the latest red squirrel research on squirrelpox in Wales and forestry operation impacts on red squirrels in Scotland, and a new Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control European office.
Woodland management and grey squirrel damage webinar - 29.11.2021 - 14:00-15:30
Hear from experts how woodland management and forestry operations can influence grey squirrel damage to young trees, and what effective grey squirrel management looks like. Charles Dutton discusses the issues of grey squirrel bark stripping and the ways management activities can alter impacts. Graeme McVittie reviews woodland activities in Exmoor National Park and grey squirrel management to protect tree health.
Charles Dutton is an independent forestry consultant who has worked in the sector since the 1980s. His various specialisms include effective management of grey squirrels and damage prediction, and timber harvesting in red squirrel areas. He is a member of the UK Squirrel Accord Knowledge Exchange & Woodland Management Subcommittee and is contributing to development of best practice guidance for forestry operations in red squirrel areas in England. Charles is also a founding Trustee and Director of the European Squirrel Initiative, and previously of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust.
Graeme McVittie is the Senior Conservation Officer for woodlands at Exmoor National Park (ENP). His expertise was recently highlighted in the All-England Woodland Resilience Awards 2021. ENP’s Moor Wood was highly commended in the existing woodland category thanks to the innovative work by Graeme and his team.
Register via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EleU7vY2SMSW-_zalaxk7w
New UK Squirrel Accord signatories - 27.10.2021
Welcome to two new signatories to the UK Squirrel Accord. Forestry England and the Kentish Cobnuts Association have joined our partnership to protect red squirrels and broadleaf trees by managing the negative impacts of invasive non-native grey squirrels. We now have 41 partners that play a key role in the tree, woodland, conservation and wildlife sectors.
Red Squirrel Conservation Update 2021 video - 23.09.2021
Catch up with our Red Squirrel Conservation Update for Red Squirrel Awareness Week 2021. Hear from leading experts Mel Tonkin, Katy Bell, Stephen Trotter and Craig Shuttleworth about work in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales to protect the future of endangered red squirrels. Thanks to their efforts and the many other volunteers and staff that work alongside them.
A plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain - consultation - 21.09.2021 to 30.11.2021
Consultation launched by the governments of England, Scotland and Wales to inform Great Britain’s (GB) approach to plant biosecurity over the next five years. Responses gathered between 21 September and 30 November 2021 will help inform the new GB Plant Biosecurity Strategy that will be published in 2022. Click here to access and respond to the consultation.
Red Squirrel Awareness Week 2021 - 20 to 26 September - 09.09.2021
This annual awareness week is dedicated to red squirrels and their conservation. Click here for our events page with online and in-person activities to get involved in around the UK - including our Red Squirrel Conservation Update webinar with experts from around the UK.
Red Squirrel Conservation UK Update 2021, 22 September, 10:00-12:00 - 04.08.2021
Join the UK Squirrel Accord’s red squirrel conservation update webinar for Red Squirrel Awareness Week 2021 (RSAW). Catch up on the UK-wide situation from leading professionals working to protect and enhance red squirrel populations in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Our presenters are…
Dr Mel Tonkin - Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels
Katy Bell - Ulster Wildlife
Stephen Trotter - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Dr Craig Shuttleworth - Red Squirrels Trust Wales
Register on Zoom in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4ws-1DksSRylyOaDwyhnBA
Call for evidence of grey squirrel bark stripping damage - 01.06.2021
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or use Wetransfer to send larger files. Read and share our blog post calling for evidence.
Grey squirrels bark strip trees between April and August each year. Damage to trees can be more obvious at this time of year, as vulnerable tissues are newly exposed beneath the protective outer bark. This damage stresses and weakens trees, opens them up to infection from pests and pathogens, and can ultimately kill them.
UKSA Invasive Species Week webinar - 26.05.2021
Watch a recording of our online event for Invasive Species Week to look at the issues of grey squirrels in the UK. Speakers provided an overview of woodland invasives then focused on the issues invasive non-native grey squirrels pose to broadleaf tree health and endangered red squirrels in the UK, and the importance of managing those threats.
- Kay Haw - UK Squirrel Accord
- Heinz Traut - Red Squirrels Northern England
- Bridget Johnson - Knowsley Safari
Woodland invasives and grey squirrel tree damage
Managing invasive grey squirrels to safeguard native red squirrels and woodland biodiversity
Reclaiming Reds: a new project to recover red squirrels
New UK Squirrel Accord newsletter - 30.04.2021
The latest UK Squirrel Accord newsletter is available online to read and share. It includes a call for evidence of grey squirrel bark stripping, new red squirrel research, our webinar being organised for Invasive Species Week, a look at Plant Health Week, new publications on grey squirrel damage and red squirrel conservation, and more.
Video of our grey squirrel fertility control research update webinar - 24.03.2021
In case you missed or wish to watch again the webinar with members of the Animal and Plant Health Agency team conducting our grey squirrel fertility control research, which is funded by the UK Squirrel Accord signatories and supporters to protect red squirrels and tree health. This comes at the midpoint of our five-year project and you can view it on our YouTube channel.
Discover more about the oral contraceptive being developed, the species-specific delivery hopper being designed, and the modelling work being carried out to better understand the potential impact of fertility control on grey squirrel populations in the landscape. With presentations on progress and future work from Dr Giovanna Massei, Rebecca Pinkham, Sarah Beatham and Simon Croft, followed by a question and answer session.
New red squirrel conservation e-book freely available - 16.03.2021
A new e-book funded by the Red Squirrel Survival Trust is now available - Saving the red squirrel: landscape scale recovery. This is a collection of case studies from conservation projects, scientific research groups and leading practitioners, which provides scientific evidence, frontline experience and key insights on achieving landscape-scale recovery for red squirrel populations in the UK. A must read for anyone interested in red squirrel conservation.
Join our Red Squirrel Appreciation Day Twitterstorm - 21.01.2021, 12:00-14:00
Join our Twitterstorm using the hashtag #RedSquirrelAppreciationDay to celebrate this day of red squirrels and raise awareness of the need to conserve them. In 2020, many individuals, groups and organisations participated – thanks for being involved.
Last year’s numerous hashtagged tweets, and likes and shares of the many different posts, meant our collective effort saw us successfully trending fifth in the UK at the height of activity. Helping to highlight red squirrels to a wider audience.
We hope the 2021 Twitterstorm will be just as popular. Please share the event with your networks and encourage as many as possible to get involved in this opportunity to highlight red squirrels early in 2021. Feel free to use and share the promotional image below. If you have any questions or wish to confirm your support, please email email@example.com
Research paper on modelling different grey squirrel management methods - 14.12.2020
UK Squirrel Accord is funding research into an oral contraceptive to reduce grey squirrel populations. To compliment this, the Animal and Plant Health Agency are also developing a model to compare management methods, which is being funded by Defra.
The first research paper on the modelling work has now been published: A spatially explicit population model to compare management using culling and fertility control to reduce numbers of grey squirrels. Click on the title to gain free access to the paper before 23 January 2021.
The team compared culling and fertility control separately, and then a combination of short-term culling with multi-year fertility control.Results showed fertility control alone to be slower to reduce numbers but is highlighted by a previous study as a more publicly acceptable management method. One year of culling followed by ongoing fertility control was shown to more rapidly reduce or eradicate grey squirrel populations.
The modelling work is based on conservative estimates of the efficacy of the oral contraceptive and can be updated as our research evolves.
Great Scottish Squirrel Survey results 2020 - 08.12.2020
This year saw a record number of people participating in Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels Great Scottish Squirrel Survey - three times as many as their first year in 2019. In fact, 2,186 people recorded 3,160 squirrel sightings - 2,612 red squirrels and 548 grey squirrels - during Red Squirrel Awareness Week. This is eight times as many sightings as SSRS receive in a normal week.
You can report your Scottish squirrel sightings all year round, as the data helps conserve red squirrels and focus work needed to protect them.
Grey squirrel tree damage video - 02.12.2020
To raise awareness of the threat grey squirrel bark stripping poses to broadleaf tree health and survival, we created a short film (below) available on our YouTube channel… Bark stripping damage to trees - issues and solutions. Hear from woodland and wildlife experts at the leading edge of this problem, which seriously threatens broadleaf tree health and survival.
Thanks to all those involved in creating this short film and the Forestry Focused Future, Knowledge Transfer Grant Scheme for the funding to make it happen.
National Tree Week - 28.11.2020
Celebrate the beauty and importance of trees during National Tree Week. The Tree Council has a calendar of tree planting and online events to get involved with, click here for their website.
Events include the UK Squirrel Accord webinar on 02 December, see below for details.
UKSA National Tree Week webinar - 10.11.2020
Register and join us for our National Tree Week webinar on 02 December 2020, 13:00-15:00. We will be releasing our new Focus on Forestry First funded video raising awareness of grey squirrel bark stripping issues and solutions. Along with speakers:
Dr Giovanna Massei discussing human-wildlife conflicts and our grey squirrel fertility control project.
Dr Charles Lane looking at the potential for grey squirrel bark stripping to exacerbate emerging tree pests and pathogens.
Register in advance using the link below:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom webinar. Keep an eye on our dedicated page for other events: www.squirrelaccord.uk/events
Two new UKSA signatories - 05.11.2020
UK Squirrel Accord is pleased to welcome two new signatories into our partnership: Countryside Management Association and Trees for Life. Both organisations have aims and objectives that resonate with UKSA, and are welcome additions. This brings our total number of signatories to 39.
UK Plant Health Week and Red Squirrel Awareness Week - 27.08.2020
Not one but two important weeks to celebrate this September. The postponed UK Plant Health Week, which ties into the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health 2020, and Red Squirrel Awareness Week.
To get involved with these awareness weeks please see our new events page, which we will keep updating, for a collated list of activities being offered by ourselves, signatories and stakeholders.
UKSA newsletter out now - 26.06.2020
Our latest UK Squirrel Accord newsletter is available to read and download from our resources library. June 2020 includes an update on the fertility control research, a focus on grey squirrel bark stripping, a summary of Red Squirrels United achievements and pine marten research from Northern Ireland.
Access our newsletter directly here.
Covid-19 update re UK Squirrel Accord - 26.03.2020
At this difficult time we wish everyone the best possible health and hope you are taking care of yourselves and each other.
In line with Government guidance regarding the Covid-19 virus, we are all working from home. While some activities can still be carried out online and remotely, there are others that will be affected. We are currently working to assess, reorganise and plan, and are keeping a close eye on developments.
Once we have assessed the facts and probable outcomes as best we can we will update you on the effects of the pandemic on our work. We hope to be able to do so with some degree of confidence in May, but will need to be flexible with the ever-changing situation.
Thank you again for your continued support.
House of Lords debate - 13.02.2020
Threats from pests and diseases to native trees
Follow the House of Lords debate on threats posed by pests and diseases to native trees in the UK. The Earl of Kinnoull will certainly be raising the issue of grey squirrels to support his roles as Chair of both the UK Squirrel Accord and Red Squirrel Survival Trust. We hope the serious issue this invasive species causes to tree health through bark stripping will be a hot topic for discussion.
The debate starts at around 11:30 and can be watched live or later via Parliament TV.
Update: this important debate was a real success, with 14 of the 24 speakers highlighting the issue of grey squirrel damage to trees and the need to find humane solutions to the problem. Read our blog to find out more.
Red Squirrel Appreciation Day Twitterstorm - 21.01.2020
Join UK Squirrel Accord, Red Squirrels United, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels and others for a Twitterstorm on 21 January, 12:00-14:00, using the hashtag #RedSquirrels2020. Use the hashtag during this time to send your own tweets and like and share those of others.
Join us and spread the message that the UK’s red squirrels are worth saving. Help us get more people interested and involved in red squirrel conservation across the UK.
@SquirrelAccord on Twitter
Update: the Twitterstorm was a great success, thanks to everyone involved. At its peak #RedSquirrels2020 was trending fifth in the UK with #RedSquirrelAppreciationDay.
Grey squirrel gene drive research – UKSA response – 06.01.2020
UK Squirrel Accord (UKSA) response to the recent article in The Times regarding a gene drive concept to reduce grey squirrel numbers.
The above article refers to a funded 3.5-year PhD that will start at the University of Edinburgh in September 2020. UKSA is aware of the research but has not provided any funding or involvement in its development, as we are concentrating on our oral contraceptive research. UKSA is being kept updated by the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI) through its own involvement in this genetics research and as ESI is a UKSA signatory.
The PhD itself will scope the feasibility of using gene drives to reduce grey squirrel numbers using theoretical modelling and cell work under laboratory conditions. UKSA will form an authoritative opinion of this work following the publication of any results and comprehensive discussions within the partnership, much of which is unlikely to be until end of the research in 2024. At this time the UKSA oral contraceptive delivery system for grey squirrels should be in operation.
“This project will design and model several sex-ratio distorting gene drive approaches for controlling the invasive Grey Squirrel in the UK. These gene drive strategies will then be developed in Grey Squirrel cells to demonstrate our ability [to] engineer these systems. The outputs from this project will be used to make real-world decisions on the potential of gene drives for controlling the invasive Grey Squirrel in the UK.”
National Tree Week - 23.11.2019 to 01.12.2019
Trees are vital for wildlife like red squirrels, they clean our air and water, they sequester carbon, provide timber, reduce flood events, increase soil fertility and prevent erosion, and much more. Trees and woods are also shown to have great mental and physical health and wellbeing benefits for humans.
During National Tree Week, can you help to increase tree and woodland cover in the UK? There are lots of planting events you can get involved in or you might find space for a tree in your garden. You could also help raise awareness of the importance of trees, spend time enjoying a walk in the woods or join your local Tree Warden network.
New State of Nature 2019 report - 04.10.2019
Invasive non-native species are highlighted as one of the greatest drivers of environmental damage, says the latest State of Nature report. Grey squirrels are an invasive non-native species threatening red squirrel survival, tree health and woodland vitality.
The report states that “on average 10–12 new non-native species become established in the UK annually, and 10–20% of these cause serious adverse impacts”.
UK Squirrel Accord is researching an oral contraceptive for grey squirrels to offer a non-lethal and effective management method for this established invasive non-native species. Could you help us reach our funding target? Donate online to support.
Red Squirrel Awareness Week 2019 - 23.09.2019
Happy Red Squirrel Awareness Week to everyone. During this week, 23-29 September, get out to see a red squirrel, join one of the events occurring around the UK, help to raise awareness of the plight of the red squirrel or do something else to celebrate their existence in the UK.
Read our latest blog post for more information on what is happening this week.
UKSA newsletter out now - 19.09.2019
Our latest UK Squirrel Accord newsletter is available to read and download from our resources library. It includes the launch of the new UKSA website, our photography competition, Red Squirrel Awareness Week and the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey.
Access our newsletter here.
Photography competition - 06.09.2019
To celebrate the launch of our new website, we are running a photography competition to add images to our new gallery. We are looking for images of red and grey squirrels, bark stripping damage, conservation tools (e.g. feeders and nest boxes), healthy trees, volunteers and land managers in action, and woodland settings.
The deadline for entries is midnight on 04 October 2019. Winners will be announced the following week and prizes allocated. Please email or WeTransfer your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to submit any images please make sure you are happy for them to be added to our image gallery and used royalty-free for media purposes. Our terms and conditions require anyone using images from the gallery to credit the relevant photographer.
Postponed - further details to be announced
Threats posed by pests and diseases to native trees in the UK - 02.09.2019
House of Lords debate - 05 September 2019
On 05 September 2019, the Earl of Kinnoull, Chair of the UK Squirrel Accord and Red Squirrel Survival Trust, has secured a debate in the House of Lords on threats to our native trees from pests and diseases. We envisage this will be a productive debate on the current situation and positive changes that could be made. Further information, including a list of speakers, is available on the parliament website.
Follow the UK Squirrel Accord Twitter feed for updates on the day: www.twitter.com/SquirrelAccord