Volunteer “Red Army” on the hunt for squirrels

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A RED army is heading for the North East.

More than 110 people from the region have volunteered to help monitor the progress of England’s largest ever red squirrel conservation project.

Over the next two months, the team, which has been labelled the Red Army will visit 270 woodlands across County Durhamn, Northumberland, Cumbria and North Yorkshire, to establish which species of squirrel live in them.

The volunteers are working under the guidance of staff from the Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) conservation partnership.

Different standardised monitoring techniques are being used, from visual counts while walking though woodlands to the use of remote cameras.

Sticky pads are also being used in all woodlands to trap squirrel hairs, which can then be examined under a microscope to determine which squirrel species they belong to.

The information gathered in this study will form an important baseline against which the success of increasing red squirrel conservation efforts can be measured.

RSNE would also welcome details of sightings of red squirrels over the next two months in the North East.