Squirrels thrive at Tentsmuir

A red squirrel at Tentsmuir
A red squirrel at Tentsmuir

Fife’s much-loved red squirrels are thriving at Tentsmuir thanks to dedicated conservation measures by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), Scotland Natural Heritage (SNH) and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT), through the Fife Red Squirrel Group.

Recent records strongly suggest that the area’s red squirrel population is increasing as a result of on-going management actions for the enhancement of red squirrels and control of grey squirrels taken by these groups.

“It’s terrific to see red squirrel numbers seem to be increasing at Tentsmuir, while the greys are being spotted less often,” said Tom Cunningham, SNH’s reserve manager at Tentsmuir NNR.

“To conserve red squirrels in key areas like Tentsmuir, we must readdress the balance between red and grey squirrels. This is being tackled through a co-ordinated and targeted grey squirrel control programme.

“And, all evidence suggests that this is working at Tentsmuir. We’re really pleased to see that these measures have started to have a positive effect on the red squirrels and hope they will continue to flourish throughout the forest, lochs and the reserve.”

FUTURE

Sophie Eastwood, FCCT Fife Red Squirrel Project Officer, said: “Fife is incredibly lucky to still have a widespread population of red squirrels. However, for this to continue we must address the issue of grey squirrels which were introduced into Fife in 1919.

“The success of the squirrel management programme at Tentsmuir is very promising for the future of red squirrels here in Fife.”

The populations of both red and grey squirrels have been continuously monitored throughout the Tentsmuir area by Elmwood College in partnership with FCS and SNH. This provides valuable data on the success of the management programme.

n To find out more about the red squirrels of Fife and how to volunteer, visit the Fife Red Squirrel Group at www.fiferedsquirrels.co.uk