Red Squirrel Pitches up at Kelling

4/6/2011

Visitors to Kelling Heath will have the opportunity to view the latest arrival, a female red squirrel which has just been released into the breeding enclosure at the park.

The red squirrel, is an increasingly rare sight in Britain, and has come from Easton College following the death of her male partner in the hope that she will now breed with the existing male that has been at Kelling since the autumn of last year.

David Martin arboricultural warden at the park says it's great news for the park that Kelling could provide a home and a mate so quickly.

"They are quite difficult to breed in captivity and the conditions need to be absolutely perfect before they will. We are thrilled to have the female and the hope is that the pair will now produce kittens, as young baby squirrels are called.”

The breeding programme, part of a national initiative, aims to set up a reserve of animals, which can be used for controlled and closely monitored release projects and David Martin says that, without captive breeding programmes, the red squirrel could well become extinct on mainland Britain:

"The reasons for the decline of the red squirrel population in mainland Britain are many and varied, but it is now a sad fact of life that very few people have actually seen a red in their natural habitat. Unless we encourage vital schemes like these, the species may be lost to us forever."

Mr. Martin says the reaction of visitors to the squirrel-breeding programme at Kelling Heath has been tremendous:

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