Fingers crossed that we are successful and that 2016 will see improved fortunes for the red squirrel population at Kelling Heath which brings great joy to the many visitors that look forward to seeing the squirrels and new kittens during their stay.2014 proved to be an exceptional year with the resident couple producing two litters over the course of the summer.
At the moment there is only one but we are keeping our fingers crossed that more could emerge in the coming days.There is also a new release programme being set up in a forest in North Wales and so the other squirrels may go over there depending on survival rates in the breeding enclosures over winter.So as we end 2018 we have 3 kittens and our breeding pair.November update: Sadly our breeding pair only produced just the one litter this year.The four kittends were excellent entertainment for visitors showing just how different reds are to the larger grey squirrel population.We have been actively hunting a new male red but just as females were scarce just a few years ago there is now a desperate shortage of male reds.
We are endeavouring to source a new male but it looks like we will be too late for breeding this year.
Two squirrels from Kelling will join a further four reds, which have been bred and reared by the East Anglian Red Squirrel Group, in being relocated to Clocaenog Forest near Ruthin in North Wales, where red squirrel populations have declined from 400 to less than 50 in the past 20 years.
Working with Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Clocaenog Forest has been identified as one of three ‘Focal Sites’ for red squirrel conservation, it is hoped that the latest squirrels from Norfolk can help to secure the future of the species.
The aim of this scheme is to set up a reserve of animals for use in controlled and closely monitored release projects.
Since 1999 we have bred 34 kittens (as the young are called) which have been either sent to other enclosures or released into the wild where established colonies still thrive.
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