Ever since I can remember I have witnessed
the retreat of the red squirrel due to the relentless advance of the
larger, North American, grey squirrel. Thankfully, parts of Northumberland
retain the reds and I still have the privilege of being able to observe
the antics of this charming, little, native animal. Last summer I saw
a red squirrel mother carry then suckle her baby not ten feet away
from where I was standing – a sight I shall never forget. Now,
though, the greys have invaded Northumberland and this heralds the
start of an almighty struggle to preserve the red squirrels. Our reds
are losing the battle on numerous fronts - predation by Goshawks, starved
to death in an unfair competition with greys for food and, finally,
fatally infected by the virus-carrying greys . We must try and stem
the tide by drastically reducing grey squirrel numbers and by assisting
the remaining red population – before it is too late.
The Wildlife Ark trust also aims to conserve the water vole, another threatened native animal, whose secretive company has given me enormous pleasure whilst fishing. Water voles are hunted by mink and while the increasing otter population appears to reduce mink numbers a determined helping hand is needed if the water voles are to expand back to their historic range and the Trust aims to provide that.
The Duke of Northumberland
The harmless, questing vole and the
friendly red squirrel must be saved from extinction. They form a perfect
comparison with British sovereignty. Both are native to this ancient
plot. Both developed over many centuries. As they face the threat posed
by feral mink and the grey squirrel, they battle against a foolishly
introduced, foreign threat just like our ancient constitution.
Frederick Forsyth CBE
I see the damage grey
squirrels do to my trees. I strongly support a campaign to turn back
the tide in favour of our native reds.
The Rt. Hon. the Lord Hestletine CH
To help red squirrels we have to get
rid of the greys. I hate killing animals but, as I see it, it’s
the only way.
Fred Trueman OBE
Having spent my formative years in the
Bournemouth area I am very familiar with red squirrel. In the ‘40’s
and ‘50’s there were dozens of them in the municipal gardens
that are such a feature of the centre of town. Of course Brownsea Island,
in the middle of Poole Harbour, was a great haven for them and is one
of the few still remaining.
The water vole is a charming, little creature that is an attractive addition to our waterways. Unfortunately, illegally released mink now prey on the water voles and hundreds of mink now roam about Surrey and Hampshire causing untold damage to the native species. I hope both the red squirrel and the water vole survive.
I grew up in Hampshire at a time when
the red squirrel was still to be found in parts of the New Forest,
and saw them driven out from there, and on Brownsea Island, where they
When I was Bishop of Birkenhead one of my delights was to walk around the National Trust land at Formby Point, where the red squirrel was still to be found in abundance, but constantly under threat from those other species who competed against them, with greater strength, for food supplies.
The red squirrel is an important part of our ecology and our heritage. I long to see its numbers increase and I am therefore keen to support the Wildlife Ark Trust.
The Right Reverend Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter
Human beings and the animals they have introduced are driving our native
wildlife from the countryside and, unless measures are taken to protect
them, native species like the water vole and the red squirrel will soon
disappear from Britain as will many other species faced with loss of
habitat and predation by introduced species. By acting now we can restore
bio-diversity and recreate a living countryside in which species live
in mutual equilibrium.
Profesor Roger Scruton
are lucky enough to live in an area of Cumbria where there still are
some red squirrels. It's such a delight to see one early
in the morning on the wall by our cottage. We need to do everything we
can to help preserve these lovely gentle little creatures.
up in the south of England in the sixties I never got to see a red squirrel
until I visited the Lake District. Ironically, now that I live here,
the reds are being driven out by the greys. I love the little red squirrel,
I miss them darting through the trees and scolding me for watching them.
We must halt this decline.
I was into fishing when I was a kid. Every spare moment I was down at the lake. There were coots, moorhens and the ubiquitous "Ratty" or water vole. Of course, we kids always thought they were water rats and so we threw rocks at them. Fortunately we always missed. I bet if I went back to that lake today I would find no sign of "Ratty" and the place would be impoverished as a result.
“ If you value our native wildlife you should support the Red Squirrel Appeal. Normally, concerned members of the public have to wait patiently, sometimes very patiently, for government to get its act together before any action is taken to protect our wildlife. On this occasion, however, your readers can immediately influence the outcome of this major conservation effort to save our red squirrels. The red squirrel is one of our flagship animals and, as such, its fate will be a major factor in determining the future wellbeing, or otherwise, of our other less charismatic species that are also under threat.”