A CAMPAIGN to help save Cumbria's red squirrels has hit a fundraising target despite Covid-19.

The Lake District Foundation has raised more than £14,000 following the launch of its drive in September 2019.

The county is one of the best places in the UK to see red squirrels but they are under threat from the larger non-native grey squirrel, which out competes the reds for food and carries squirrel pox, a disease which is deadly to the reds.

Heinz Traut, project manager at Red Squirrels Northern England, said: “A recent study found that red squirrels were present in 64 per cent of surveys within Cumbria, proving once again that the county is one of the best places to see this delightful species. 

"However, reds are only thriving here due to the relentless commitment of hundreds of volunteers, who work tirelessly to preserve them.

"We are so grateful to the donors who have supported this campaign and enabled us to continue this great work.”

The funds raised have been given to seven local squirrel groups for things like squirrel feeders, squirrel food and monitoring equipment.

Some groups are using their grant for information signs and leaflets to raise awareness in their communities and encourage people to report sightings of red and grey squirrels.

Grants have also been made to Red Squirrels Northern England who coordinate and analyse the conservation efforts across the county, together with the Lake District National Park Authority to restore woodland along the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Trail, increasing both the availability of habitat suitable for the red squirrels and the opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with nature along the trail.

Sarah Swindley, CEO Lake District Foundation, said: “Teams of volunteers work really hard across the county to protect this amazing creature. 

"Our role at the foundation is to connect people who love the landscape, wildlife of the Lake District with conservation projects.”

Text “savereds” to 70085 to donate £5, a standard message rate will also be charged.
Alternatively go to: www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/red-squirrel-campaign-2019-savereds

To report sightings visit: www.northernredsquirrels.org.uk/report-sightings