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

122 comments

KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ Mabout a year ago

Tfs

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ Mabout a year ago

Tfs

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ Mabout a year ago

Tfs

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ Mabout a year ago

Tfs

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ Mabout a year ago

Tfs

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Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thank you for posting.

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FOTEINI c
fotini horbouabout a year ago

finally!!! thank God!!

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Lesa D
Past Member about a year ago

SOSS~SAVE OUR SQUIRRELS SUCCESS!!!

thank you Judy...

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Kathryn I
Kathryn Iabout a year ago

Noted - Thanks

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Kathryn I
Kathryn Iabout a year ago

This is solid proof that petitions do get positive results!

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