First Red Squirrels Arrive On Tresco

Tresco could become one of the last safe havens in the UK for endangered red squirrels.

That’s according to Matt Binstead, head keeper at the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey, who supplied the four male and two female red squirrels that arrived on the island yesterday.

Matt says they’ll be held in an enclosure over the winter to allow staff on Tresco to observe and get used to looking after the fragile animals. They’ll then be released into the wild, allowing them to eat natural foods, which will be supplemented by feeders on the island, and he thinks they’ll settle in fine to their new home.

Further animals could be released in the future.

Mike Nelhams of Tresco estate says he’s uncertain what vegetation around the estate they’ll eat but he’s been surprised to learn that they enjoy parrot food.

Matt said red squirrels are highly endangered on the mainland and time could be running out. It could be just 15 to 20 years before they’re replaced by their grey cousins on the mainland.

He said the most logical places to try and conserve them are on the UK’s islands, and Tresco could add to already-established populations on the Isle of Wight and Brownsea.

The scheme was first suggested four years ago by Daily Telegraph wildlife columnist, and regular visitor to Tresco, Robin Page. The initial idea had the backing of Prince Charles, who is patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust.

It’s very early days and it will take time and patience, says Matt, but in five years there could be a thriving population on Tresco. And with the neighbouring islands so close, some may even make the journey to other islands, he says.


2 Responses to First Red Squirrels Arrive On Tresco

  1. Pat Hicks September 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Think its a great idea and hopefully it wont have any bad effects
    on Tresco and will help our red squirrels . look forward to seeing them…..

  2. JeffEastick September 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Having seen the Red Squirrels on Brownsea , Scilly would seem the perfect place to try and produce another haven for these animals, provided they have no adverse effect on indigeonous species.
    Introducing non-native species can cause untold problems to native flora and fauna . The unplanned introduction of hedgehogs , for example.