Success! After 315,000 Sign Care2 Petition, Red Squirrels in Scotland are Safe

A thousand years ago, red squirrels were plentiful in woodlands all over Britain, but in time those woodlands disappeared, as trees were felled to provide timber for fuel and shipbuilding. As the trees vanished, so did the squirrels.

The Victorians replanted many of those forests, but then came another threat: the American grey squirrel, introduced to England in the mid-19th century. Thanks to competition for food and habitat from this invasive species, red squirrels were mostly wiped out in England, Wales and Ireland, and retreated to Scotland. In addition, grey squirrels carry the squirrel pox virus which can be deadly for reds but not for greys.

In 2017, it is estimated that there are only 160,000 red squirrels left in the U.K., 75 percent of them in Scotland.

As a result of this disastrous decline in their numbers, red squirrels are listed as an endangered species in the U.K.

So when Amanda Warwick discovered that the Scottish Forestry Commission had advanced their plans for more clear felling in the village of Invermoriston and the surrounding Loch Ness area by 20 years, she was alarmed that this could mean the further decline of red squirrels, who would have no forest corridors.

Warwick decided to fight these plans by creating a Care2 petition asking the Scottish government to stop the Forestry Commission from destroying squirrel habitat.

As she explained in her petition:

“They have already felled three large areas around the village and have not yet replanted any trees. They propose to continue the clear felling which will leave the population of red squirrels and pine martens no suitable habitat here. They claim to be partners in protecting and reintroducing the red squirrel – so they should not be able to destroy squirrels’ habitat without making some provision for them.”

Warwick created her petition in 2015, and since then over 315,000 Care2 members have signed on to support her on this crucial issue.

Some have also added comments.

“Why lose tourists who come to see squirrels,” writes mary g., from the U.K. “You are very short sighted, as there is not much else in Scotland apart from hills and rain.”

Evelyn M, also from the U.K., asks, “Are the authorities of Scotland’s forests and wildlife going to decimate the Loch Ness area – like so many forests around the world have? We are here to protect Mother Earth and all the animals to keep it healthy – please, please – rethink your proposed felling- sincere THANKs.”

From the beginning, the Forestry Commission staff paid attention to the petition. They were in contact with Warwick to discuss her concerns and responded to emails from petition signers.

The Scottish Forestry Commission wrote to Care2 to ensure that wildlife corridors have been preserved for red squirrels and that the signer’s concerns have been taken into consideration for future plans.

“We have used the reaction to the petition to check our management decisions.” And “the landscape in this area provides good opportunities for wildlife corridors and long term continuity of habitat for red squirrels and the wide range of other protected species that we work around.”

The Scottish Forestry Commission also mentioned that they adhere to clear guidelines set by the Scottish Natural Heritage, who oversees red squirrel protections.

Congratulations to Amanda Warwick and to all the Care2 activists who signed her petition

Wildlife corridors are important for the survival of all species. It’s not enough to have small protected areas; habitats need to be connected to others via wildlife corridors if animal life is to survive. 

Following Amanda Warwick’s example, let’s keep fighting to make sure all species receive the protection they need.

 

Photo Credit: thinkstock

114 comments

Kathryn I
Kathryn I20 days ago

Noted - Thanks

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I1 months ago

This is solid proof that petitions do get positive results!

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I1 months ago

Congratulations to Amanda, and those who signed that petition!

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

great news, ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

great news, ty

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Emily J
Emily J2 months ago

Great news, I remember signing the petition! It would be great if one day more areas of Scotland were re-forested to create wildlife habitat for species such as squirrels!

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Marija M
Marija M2 months ago

:) glad to hear that...

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Jane R
Jane R2 months ago

BRAVO! Many small voices united can make a difference.

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Julie B
Julie B2 months ago

I do hope younger anf future Generations think about cruelty to animals. Do not follow in footsteps of mindless outdated barbaric acts in violence. The royal family have bear hat fur on the guards. Fox hunting. Supporting cruel extermination of squirrels. People stand together to Demand this is stopped not allowed in our future. Thankyou I hope people agree with this subject? Time to Act......

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Julie B
Julie B2 months ago

Iam very upset to read how Prince Charles is/has supported the grey squirrels being killed in a barbaric way. My understanding was he had an interest in natures welfare ? Although do they support Fox Hunting too? This Iis murder by sacrificing a defenceless creature of Gods. I do NOT respect or support any1 who carries out such Cruelty! Very Bad Behaviour. We shall act upon to Stamp it Out :) thankyou 4 insightful information

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