Initially a full time conservation officer was employed but since May 2008 a team of part time contractors has been working hard to
meet the varied aims of the project.
There has been considerable survey work completed with ?? 1 km squares in the buffer zones around the priority woods being surveyed twice to check for the presence of both red and grey squirrels.
Walked and cone transects have been carried out in Galloway, Kyle and Glenapp priority woods.
The results have been mixed with some areas showing good signs of squirrel presence but in others, despite good food sources, squirels seem
inexplicably absent. Red squirrels have been found in the Kyle Forest and healthy populations exists around Barhhill and Ballantrae areas.
The range of greys squirrels has expanded with greys found all through Ayrshire although they remain in very small numbers in the southern areas.
- To compile detailed distribution maps for red and grey squirrels in Ayrshire
- To increase public awareness of the plight of the red squirrels
- To engage landowners and managers in red squirrel friendly habitat management
- To increase nature based tourism in Ayrshire that targets red squirrels
The project supported two students from Stirling University to do survey work on Arran in July 2008 and their results show very
healthy populations of red squirrels.
With the spread of the squirrel pox virus into Scotland grey control and pox testing has been a major part of the project.
We currently have over 150 traps on loan in East and South Ayrshire and so far all pox tests have proved negative.
An education pack 'Red Squirrels and Woodlands' was produced in November 2007 and distributed to all primary schools in
East, North and South Ayrshire. Outdoor interpretation panels 'Are you seeing Red?' have been produced and are being erected in
woods around the area as well as 2 boards on Arran.