Derry’s City Cemetery has become an unlikely haven for the dwindling numbers of red Squirrels in the city, a new survey by Ulster Wildlife has discovered.
The survey carried out by the charity last year, revealed significant sightings of ‘reds’ in woodland areas in the city, urban gardens and in the City Cemetery, sparking fresh hope for this endangered mammal which has been pushed out by the invasive non-native grey Squirrel.
To give the cityside ‘reds’ a fighting chance of survival, the charity plans to establish a new red Squirrel volunteer group and has organised a workshop at Creggan Country Park on Thursday, February 22, at 7pm for anyone interested in helping with conservation efforts.
Volunteers are needed to monitor red Squirrels using camera traps and feeders, and to gather information about where reds are nesting and breeding, so that these areas can be protected. Volunteers are also sought to help prevent the further spread of invasive greys moving into areas of the city that could threaten red Squirrel populations.
Caroline Finlay, Red Squirrel Officer for Derry said: “We are still fortunate to have a sizable population of red Squirrels in the city, but without active conservation this much-loved creature could be lost within a generation.
In Northern Ireland, Ulster Wildlife is working in four red Squirrel strongholds, including the North West, to help protect this endangered native species as part of Red Squirrels United.
To find out more and to report squirrel sightings in the city, contact Caroline Finlay at firstname.lastname@example.org