THE REDS ARE BACK!
You may remember that a few months ago we featured collaboration between two leading British shooting brands, Brocock Airguns and MTC Optics, who have tied into a joint venture to help the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project, to re-establish the native red squirrel in the south-west of England. Before the reds could be reintroduced it’s been necessary to clear the Lizard Peninsula of grey squirrels because they carry the squirrel parapox virus – deadly to the reds. Brocock supplied rifles and MTC scopes for the local rangers and Lead Ranger, Ian Hampton, caught up with us at the time of the MTC event. He was delighted to tell us that the project is on schedule; holding pens now being built and the red squirrels are due to arrive within the next few months. These pens will hold them for the next 12 months, when it is hoped that they will breed, and if all continues to go well, they will be released next year.
At that point, the real work will begin to provide a safe habitat for reds, and to keep the invasive greys at bay. The group are already making plans to expand the buffer zone because the majority of grey squirrels culled in the last couple of months have been travelling juveniles, and this is indicates that new greys are moving into the cleared zone being prepared.
A new ranger, Adam Robinson, has joined the project and it is planned to add more volunteers over the next few months. CRSP will be running three-day training courses in conjunction with long-time airgun training experts, ATEO, run by David Mills, over the next few months. These courses will train and certify rangers in grey-squirrel control, as well as red-squirrel conservation. Look here for more information on how you can help, but in the meantime you can find out more at: www. corwallredsquirrels.co.uk and on the Brocock website www.brocock.co.uk
Could we soon see red squirrels in Cornwall? The answer is - yes!