We established a squirrel monitoring programme in spring 2012. This large scale systematic survey is repeated each year in spring. The programme samples 300 woodlands and gardens across northern England, using the same methods in the same places each year. Surveys are carried out using trail cameras, by walking through woodlands and recording squirrels seen, or by observing squirrel visits to garden feeders.
We have completed our annual monitoring programme again in 2018. This is the 7th year running we have conducted this programme with the help of over 160 people, 87% of which were volunteers. A fantastic achievement once again!
Overall, red squirrels were detected in 42% of 290 sites surveyed within six counties: Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Tyne & Wear, Lancashire and Merseyside. This is a slight drop on the previous year, but demonstrates that red squirrels remain widely present across the north. Grey squirrels were detected in 48% of surveys, a 5% rise compared to 2017.
We are not overly concerned by this year's results; populations of wild animals naturally fluctuate and we are pleased to be documenting this in red and grey populations, within areas of northern England, in what is one of the biggest citizen science projects in mammal conservation in the UK.
We were also pleased to be able to document red squirrel range in a massive 350 2 x 2 km squares. We were able to create a map of this distribution from data sent in from members of the public, from our own staff and from other organizations, including community red squirrel groups, during the period March to May 2018.
Click on the attachment below to read the report in full. If you would prefer a shorter read, download the Monitoring Summary Report 2018 instead.