Help wanted to track down grey squirrels

Help needed to protect red squirrels in Angus. (Picture by Margaret Holland).
Help needed to protect red squirrels in Angus. (Picture by Margaret Holland).

A public meeting will take place in Kingoldrum Village Hall on Tuesday evening in an attempt to stop the advance of grey squirrels in Angus.

It is hoped the public will get behind a project being run by Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels to stop the greys in their tracks.

Ken Neil, Tayside project officer for SSRS, told the Dispatch and Herald he had made an earlier appeal in our papers for volunteers to carry out a survey of the red squirrel population in the Kirriemuir area, which had proved successful - and he is hoping for a similar response to his latest call for help.

He said: “I am doing a series of winter and spring talks in the Angus area to try to get people to look out for and report sightings of grey squirrels.

“We are hoping to get small groups started with people who might want to help us with our red squirrel conservation efforts.

“We are quite concerned because we have had one or two grey squirrels popping up in parts of northern Angus where they have not been spotted before.

“Little by little the greys have been moving up through the valley of Strathmore and they can now be found around Brechin and very recently at the House of Dun near Montrose. There has also been a recent sighting at Hillside, which takes us close to the Aberdeen border.

“We get a lot of help from local estates and we have our own grey squirrel control officer but the greys are working their way up the coast and have been spotted at Monifieth, Arbroath and Rossie.

“They are certainly on the move and we want to stop them getting into Aberdeenshire to stop them breeding with the greys which were re-released there in the 1970s.

“The greys found near Brechin are not related to those in Aberdeen and, as any hybrid gardener would know, we are worried they get together.”

Next Tuesday’s meeting at Kingoldrum begins at 7 p.m.