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Cumbria is home to 90 per cent of England’s red squirrels, but its population is under threat from the advancement north of grey rivals. The red population have been increasingly out-competed for food since greys were introduced to the UK over one hundred years ago. They are also endangered by the parapox virus which spread by the greys. Red squirrels are now outnumbered by greys by about 70 to 1, and there are thought to be fewer than 1,000 left in Cumbria. Although there are a number of innovative grey squirrel traps, these are not permitted to be used where red are active.

Red squirrels at Skelwith Fold

Red squirrel by Skelwith Fold touring pitches

There have been a number of red squirrels sighted at Skelwith Fold over the last few weeks. This has caused a lot of excitement amongst our guests – particularly our younger visitors, many of whom have never seen a red squirrel before! The red squirrel may be a rarity, often out-competed for food by the American grey squirrel, but here at Skelwith Fold we are proud to be a home for our native wildlife.

We have put a lot of time and effort into encouraging red squirrels to make a comeback. After a virus which is deadly to the red squirrel was suspected of being spread by the old-style feeding boxes, we continued to help the squirrels by feeding them – but from the ground instead. It also helps that we don’t have any cats on the site, as they don’t think twice about hunting red squirrels regardless of how endangered they may be!

You can see a video of one of our red squirrels on our facebook page below – like our page and you’ll be able to see regular updates from us and our guests when they see one of our furry friends!

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