AN appeal to raise funds to protect the North West’s only stronghold for red squirrels, in Formby, has reached its first target.
Funding for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust Red Squirrel Project had stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, kind-hearted supporters have raised £2,000 and counting in a Just Giving Appeal to help to keep the project running and officers in jobs until they can apply for support next year.
Flick, an orphaned red squirrel has now joined the campaign to help the project.
Red Squirrel Project Officer Rachel Cripps said: “Flick was about five-weeks-old when she was found in a garden in Hightown in early August. She was physically fine but was a bit dehydrated. She is developing really quickly and is now ready to go into the large indoor cage. She will go into the outdoor release pen at the end of August or the beginning of September. She will spend a couple of weeks before we open the door to freedom.
“Sadly, the project will come to an end in September if we can't find enough funds to continue. This would be devastating news for our officers and local volunteers who have worked so hard to protect the reds. It would be another tragic consequence of the pandemic if we lost our red squirrels.”
Wildlife Trust Campaigns Manager Alan Wright added: “Every year we get up to a dozen orphaned red squirrels in and around their Formby stronghold. Our team care for them until they are ready to be released back into the wild. ithout Rachel and her team these young squirrels would not survive and that is a heartbreaking thought.
“The Red Squirrel Project is more than just orphaned squirrels, it creates prefect habitats for our native squirrel and monitors their numbers to ensure they are healthy. Without their work the red squirrel population would not have survived in the North West. here are positive signs that the population is recovering from the most recent outbreak of squirrel pox in 2018-2019, but the critical work continues.”
The Trust was in the process of securing funds for the project, however the progress has now been delayed by at least a year – and existing funding ends in just under a month’s time. You can add to the donations at https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/lancswt/savereds