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Last Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Third red squirrel refuge for UK
Red squirrel
There are only three refuges for the red squirrel in the UK
An area of Merseyside woodland is to become a protected haven for the dwindling population of red squirrels.

The Sefton Coast Woodlands, part of the National Trust's Formby estate, will be only the third national red squirrel refuge in the UK.

Other red squirrel refuges are in Kielder Forest, in Northumberland, and Penrith, in Cumbria.

There are about 160,000 red squirrels left in the UK, compared with 2.5m grey squirrels.

The refuge area will be home to about 1,000 squirrels and will be surrounded by a 5km "buffer zone" to try to stop the grey squirrels moving in.

It is being launched by Red Alert, a partnership of 120 organisations and individuals including the National Trust and Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Andrew Brockbank, The National Trust's Countryside Property Manager at Formby said: "People in the Formby and Sefton Coast area are justly proud of their red squirrels and fiercely resist anything which threatens their long term survival.

"Long term conservation of red squirrels will only succeed in this area if grey squirrels are effectively controlled".




SEE ALSO:
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Plans to protect red squirrels
18 Feb 04 |  Scotland
Virus threatens UK's red squirrels
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