When picturing a squirrel, most people in the British Isles will think of a grey squirrel rather than the native red squirrel.
The grey squirrel is an invasive species which was introduced in 1876 from North America by misguided people wanting a novelty, ornamental species in their back gardens.
The introduction of the grey squirrel has been catastrophic for British wildlife. Not only do the greys cause damage to native British trees and plants but also their presence is sending the red squirrel to the brink of extinction in these islands.
Grey squirrels are bigger and stronger than red squirrels. Naturally the greys get to the food sources before the red squirrels. What’s more, grey squirrels are carriers of the squirrel pox which rarely affects them but is deadly when passed on to red squirrels.
Red squirrels have vanished from the wild across large areas of Great Britain and Ireland but there is still hope. There are conservation efforts in most parts of both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to control the population and spread of grey squirrels and to regenerate population numbers of red squirrels.
The Red Squirrel Education Pack aims to introduce to primary school students the topic of looking after native species and the role we can all play in helping to ensure the survival of our adorable British red squirrel. Children learn about the situation and are encouraged to express their own opinions through a variety of different activities.