Two baby red squirrels have been born at Trewithen Gardens near Probus.

Known as kits, the babies' arrival has caused a great deal of excitement on the estate where three adult red squirrels – two females and a male – were first introduced in 2012 as part of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project.

Red squirrels are one of the most threatened mammals in the UK they are both out competed by the greys for food and habitat and are also at risk of the fatal small pox disease, which is carried and spread by the greys. As a result of the incursion of grey squirrels, reds have been extinct in Cornwall since 1984.

HRH Prince Charles is President of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust and he was the one who released the male into the purpose-built pen with the two females just over two years ago. Since then, Trewithen owner Michael Galsworthy and the estate gardening team have been looking forward to seeing kits born.

"I'm thrilled with our new arrivals and know that everyone involved in the CRSP will be too," said Mr Galsworthy.  "We hadn't seen one of the females for a while and hoped that meant she was nesting but, since we didn't want to disturb her, we couldn't be sure.  

"I have very fond memories of seeing red squirrels playing in front of Trewithen House in the 1950s and, although it will be some time yet before that is likely to happen again, these births are a very important step in the right direction."

All three of the Trewithen adult squirrels came from Paradise Park.

"All our staff were delighted to hear the news of Trewithen's young red squirrels," said David Woolcock, the Paradise Parks Curator.  "It has always been our aim to establish satellite breeding groups throughout the county to support the re-establishment efforts of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project.  This breeding success at Trewithen, with animals on loan from Paradise Park, takes us one step closer to our ultimate goal – securing the future of these wonderful native animals in the wild in Cornwall."

The CRSP was set up in 2009 and is currently focusing on re introducing red squirrels in The Lizard and West Penwith.

"Trewithen's news is really exciting," said Natasha Collings, CRSP Coordinator.  "We've been waiting in anticipation to hear if there were babies.  They are very important additions to our breeding programme."

Trewithen Head Gardener Gary Long has been looking after the squirrels and said he couldn't be happier.

"The babies are so cute," he said.  "Like everyone else, I've been hoping that the new mother was hiding away because she was making a nest. Seeing the kits when I went to feed the adults was like a dream come true."