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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 December 2005, 11:03 GMT
Plan to save red squirrel project
red squirrel
Anglesey's red squirrel project is highly praised by European experts
Experts trying to save the red squirrel on Anglesey plan to hire themselves out to raise money to continue the project.

The team need to raise funds from May 2006 when half of their £80,000 grant funding stops.

Their environmental consultancy will be available to public bodies, companies and individuals.

The European Squirrel Initiative which campaigns to save the red squirrel describes the Anglesey project as the "most fantastic" they have come across.

The shortfall in funds will come when an Objective 1 grant ends in May 2006, and the Anglesey team are keen to find a "sustainable" way to fund the work they do.

"We will use our own expertise as well as that of the network of people who help us with the project," said Hugh Knott, environmental project manager with Menter Môn, the Anglesey-based regeneration organisation backing the red squirrel project, in Pentraeth and Newborough.

The Anglesey project is the most fantastic project we've come across in everything apart from the money it receives
Charles Dutton, European Squirrel Initiative

The consultancy will work on environmental impact assessments, ecological surveys, habitat restoration, and interpreting the environment for planning applications.

All money raised will be ploughed back into the Anglesey project, which support a squirrel population of between 80-100 on the island.

The conservation work on the island has been praised by the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI).

ESI was founded in June 2002 to campaign for support of European governments to secure the future of the red squirrel through controlling the grey squirrel, which threatens its population.

"The Anglesey project is the most fantastic project we've come across in everything apart from the money it receives," said Charles Dutton, trustee and director with the ESI.

Die out

"In our view Anglesey has a long term chance of success because it is an island," he added.

The ESI say the current method of controlling the grey squirrel has not worked.

"The best chance the red squirrel has of survival is if a method of immuno contraception is found for the grey squirrel," said Charles Dutton.

This would mean interfering with either the fertility of the male or female grey squirrel, and they would eventually die out.

Meanwhile, the Wales Squirrel Forum - which includes the project, Forestry Commission Wales and Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), held its first meeting last month to work on an action plan for Wales.

"We are always updating our strategy for Wales, always looking for effective ways to save the red squirrel," said Clive Davies, Forestry Commission information officer.

The Welsh Assembly Government do not directly finance any of the red squirrel projects in Wales, but do so "indirectly" said their spokesman, through funds to the Forestry Commission and CCW.

'Welsh squirrels' need new blood
01 Sep 05 |  North West Wales


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