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Squirrel Monitoring Programme


Volunteers setting up cameras to look for reds

We began the annual red and grey squirrel monitoring programme back in 2012. This large scale citizen science project is repeated each year in spring, where we sample 300 woodlands and gardens across northern England. Surveys are carried out using trail cameras, by walking through woodlands and recording squirrels seen, or by observing squirrels visiting garden feeders.

We have completed our annual monitoring programme again in 2019, for the 8th year running with the help of over 170 people, 86% of which were volunteers. A fantastic achievement!

Overall, red squirrels were detected in 43% of 290 sites surveyed within six counties: Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Tyne & Wear, Lancashire and Merseyside. This is a very similar result to 2018, with a slight increase in the number of red sites (up 1%). Grey squirrels were detected in 46% of surveys, a 2% drop compared to last year's result.  

This is one of the biggest citizen science projects in mammal conservation in the UK, and we are pleased to have managed to finish it once again, with the help of so many people. This is an important piece of work, helping us to document changes to red squirrel range over time.  

We were also pleased to be able to document red squirrel range in a massive 440 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 2019. This helped to fill in a lot of gaps, for example, in some areas of Northumberland, where we had not picked up red squirrels during the surveys.   

Click on the attachment below to read the report in full. If you would prefer a shorter read, download the Annual Monitoring Summary Report 2019 instead.