Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Red Squirrel

The plight of the Red Squirrel in the UK is well documented; there are estimated to be just 140,000 left in Britain compared to more than 2.5 million Grey Squirrels (source: Forestry Commission). There are small strongholds in Scotland, northern England (notably in Cumbria) and Wales, but elsewhere geography is the red's only hope. It is on islands that the future for the Red Squirrel looks just a tad brighter; islands such as Anglesey, where it was once widespread. That was the position until the 1970s, when the invasive grey began to be seen in numbers. The theory is that they either crossed to the island on one of its two bridges or they – almost unbelievably – swam across the Menai Straits. What is clear, however, is that the population of the Red Squirrel in Anglesey has plummeted to the extent that there are now only around 200 adults (source: Friends of Anglesey Red Squirrels). Greys are now being live-trapped and a major Red Squirrel reintroduction programme is having success. These shots of captive Red Squirrels were taken at Pensthorpe nature reserve in Norfolk, which is part of the Anglesey programme, with healthy adult reds being relocated to Anglesey in a bid to shore up the resident population.

Canon 1DS MkII

1. 1/200 sec, f8, 400mm at ISO 640
2. 1/100 sec, f8, 252mm at ISO 640

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