Red Squirrels Find New Home On Tresco

An animal that is under increasing pressure on the mainland could be introduced to the islands.

Mike Nelhams from Tresco Estates told us they are at an advanced stage in planning the introduction of red squirrels to the island’s woodland.

Mike says they’ve been working on the scheme for about three years after it was first suggested by Daily Telegraph wildlife columnist, and regular visitor to Tresco, Robin Page.

They have been taking scientific advice on the best way to introduce the endangered mammals from squirrel expert, Dr Craig Shuttleworth, and the scheme has the backing of Prince Charles, who is patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust.

But Mike says they still have some work to do.

Squirrels are not indigenous to Tresco so they need to be careful that they won’t rapidly breed or cause other problems.

In particular, they have to look at the food source to make sure they won’t attack the various plant species on the island, and they’ll be released in the woodlands away from any areas of special scientific interest.

The plan is to source six genetically-different pairs from Paradise Park in Hayle, to ensure there’s no inbreeding.

And if all goes well, they could arrive in their new home by February next year.



2 Responses to Red Squirrels Find New Home On Tresco

  1. Kev Wright November 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I’ve often thought about introducing them to St Mary’s (my guess would be that the other islands are too small) but the problem as far as I see it is what will they feed on? I’m no expert on their diet, but Scilly is hardly overrun with nut bearing trees. Let’s hope they like Elm leaf too.

  2. John Hicks November 23, 2011 at 12:54 am

    As much as I love squirrels and would love for them to survive, I can’t really think that Tresco is the best place to put them. I wouldn’t have thought there were enough wooded areas for them and as for the article above saying they will be released in the woodlands away from areas of ssi. what do they think these squirrels are going to do, just stay in the one spot, of course not, within a few weeks they will have covered the island to find out their new home and if they want to live in the SSI they damn well will. and I can already hear people saying “I wish they hadn’t been introduced. Of course they will breed and in no time the island will not be large enough to ssutain them apart for just a few. I would have thought St Marys would have been a better bet as at least there are a lot more wooded areas for them. I would like to see a lot more information about this befroe it happens.