Our main area of responsibility lies to the immediate south of Kielder Forest, the largest remaining UK red squirrel stronghold. Recent organisational changes have resulted in the loss of the eighteen rangers who previously provided effective protection against grey squirrel incursion across Northern England. These have now been reduced to three and this is hopelessly inadequate, as is increasingly evident: We are now trapping grey squirrels in Kielder Village.
Thus, with little warning, we at NT&RRS find ourselves in a critical situation and having to rapidly build our capacity in terms of personnel, equipment and funds.
The plight of the red squirrel is recognised in local, regional and national conservation policies. In consequence, they have the highest level of protection under UK and European law. But it remains the case that the bulk of this work falls to volunteer groups operating on very modest funding.
NT&RRS has been in operation since 2011 and for much of that time we funded ourselves out of our back pockets. We have now received some funding from the Elgon Foundation and the Green Rigg Wind Farm Fund, with the help of the Community Foundation. This has provided for some much needed equipment for which we are enormously grateful. Also Red Squirrels Northern England in association with Northumberland Wildlife Trust have been very helpful with both funding and assistance in securing management contracts.
Travel costs are significant in trying to cover a large land area. This along with squirrel feed and equipment replacement are all on-going costs. If you'd like to help us, then please see the paragraph titled "Donations", at the end of the next section.