Comprising mainly members of the public who are interested in conservation and red squirrels we also include representatives of national and local conservation organisations. These include The National Trust for Scotland, The Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, South Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire Woodlands, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group Scotland.
The Group was established in 2002 and is now a registered charity: Scottish Charity SC033978.
The group was established because the number of red squirrels is believed to be declining in Ayrshire and that specific interventions may be required to stabilise the population. It has been observed that there has been an increase in the number of sightings of the non-native grey squirrel in Ayrshire. Nationally the expansion of grey squirrels has gone hand-in-hand with the decline of the red squirrel, however, the grey squirrel is not the sole cause of the red's disappearance.
Similar groups are already established around Scotland and the north of England and by working together we hope to ensure the survival of the red squirrel - the only native squirrel in the UK.
The objectives of the group are;
- To survey and monitor red and grey squirrels
- To stimulate the reporting of sightings of red and grey squirrels
- To promote red squirrel friendly management of woodlands
- To promote education and awareness of red squirrels
- To improve squirrel knowledge through research
- To organise and encourage training in red squirrel ecology and survey
- To contribute towards the Local Biodiversity Action Plan targets
- To provide a local forum for discussion and exchange of ideas, information and experience in all aspects of red squirrel conservation
- To develop and implement a conservation strategy targeting core red squirrel areas
- To instigate grey squirrel control programmes in targeted areas if required