Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 17:07 UK

Reds helped by grey squirrel pate

Grey squirrel
Grey squirrels have become a familiar sight as reds have declined

A food company has devised a recipe which it hopes will boost a colony of red squirrels...grey squirrel pate.

Jenny Whitham, of Patchwork Pate in Ruthin, Denbighshire, came up with the idea after grey squirrels kept eating her chickens' food and stealing eggs.

The company makes no profit from the pate, and funds are donated to the Friends of the Anglesey Red Squirrel.

Despite "a couple" of complaints from animal rights campaigners, Ms Whitham said the first batch had sold out.

The idea for the pate came when Ms Whitham's gardener trapped a grey squirrel.

She said: "He asked me if I ate them and I said 'no, but I can make a pate.'

"It was delicious so I took it down to the factory and everyone liked it.

Jenny Whitham

We decided that rather than profiting from the demise of the grey squirrel, we would try and help the red squirrel

Jenny Whitham, Patchwork Pate

"We managed to trap another five squirrels and made a batch of about 60 containers from them, and they disappeared within two weeks."

She added: "We decided that rather than profiting from the demise of the grey squirrel, we would try and help the red squirrel."

The pate - available through the company's website - uses squirrel flesh, chicken livers and hazelnut liqueur.

Customers are not charged a flat fee, but urged to make a minimum £5 donation for a 120g (4oz) container.

The website currently shows the product as out of stock, although Ms Whitham said she had been contacted on Monday by someone offering a ready supply of grey squirrels.

She has also received a "couple of not very nice emails" about the latest product, but said she had not been put off.

She added: "I thought we had avoided any flack because we weren't profiting at all, but were helping the red squirrels, but I spoke too soon.

"One of them was a bit threatening.

Red squirrel
There are now more than 100 red squirrels on Anglesey

"I know I'm doing it with the right intentions."

Dr Craig Shuttleworth, of the Friends of the Anglesey Red Squirrels, said the last time he checked, the pate had raised a few hundred pounds.

He said: "It's a very kind gesture. The money they have given us will be used towards an education centre we're developing so children can learn all about woodland squirrels."

Red squirrels once thrived on Anglesey, before their numbers were nearly wiped out in the 1970s.

However, the number has risen from 30 to 100 in a decade.

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