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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 July 2004, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Birth of red squirrels at trust
Red squirrel
Red squirrels are under threat in the UK from grey squirrels
Three red squirrels have been born at a Kent animal centre, 40 years after the species disappeared from the county.

The Wildwood Trust near Canterbury says the births help in the survival of the species, which began disappearing in the 1940s and 50s.

There are 30,000 red squirrels in England - compared with 2.5 million grey squirrels.

The three kittens will be transferred to the island of Anglesey in north Wales, which is free of grey squirrels.

But what we really need is for lots of people to get involved in recreating woodland
Peter Smith, Wildwood Trust

Peter Smith, from the Wildwood Trust said: "They (reds) are becoming extinct across the whole of Britain.

"Slowly and surely, red squirrels are dying out in the north of England and Scotland.

"What we need is to do something to stop their extinction.

"Here at Wildwood we use our expertise to breed the red squirrels.

"But what we really need is for lots of people to get involved in recreating woodland."

To emphasise how rare the births are, the trust is planning to give names to the babies - although at the moment there are not sure what sex they are.

Refuge offers red squirrels hope
03 Feb 04 |  Science/Nature
Squirrels 'genetically altered' by forest
21 Sep 01 |  Science/Nature

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