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  Safe havens for red squirrels
Updated 15 October 2001, 14.26
Red squirrel
Red squirrels are being helped to stand up to their grey cousins.

The red squirrel is quite rare in the UK compared to the grey one, and conservationists want to help them fight back.

Fact File
Red squirrels
Can be anything from ginger to black
Have larger ear tufts in the winter
Often have bleached white tails in the summer
Are protected by law
Can make huge leaps during mating season

A network of 25 'safe squirrel' havens will be set up in north-east England to help the fluffy red ones breed and grown in numbers.

Competition

There used to be millions of red squirrels in the UK, but now there are only 160,000 left.

One of the reasons for this is competition from the 2.5m grey squirrels which find it easier to survive.
Red squirrel

Their falling numbers are also blamed on disease and disappearing woodlands.

The wildlife trusts which are setting up the squirrel havens have chosen the areas specially to include the type of trees red squirrels like, and to make it easier for them to defend themselves.

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Web Links
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The Wildlife Trusts
World Conservation Union - Squirrels
Mammal Society - red squirrels
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