Wiped out by the grey squirrel, the new inhabitants now reside in a specially built enclosure to keep them from the harms of their grey counterparts.

Red squirrels are one of the most threatened species of mammal in the UK, out competed by the greys for both food and space. Not only are the greys larger, they also carry and spread the squirrel pox disease, which is fatal to red squirrels.

As part of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project (CRSP), Trewithen's red squirrels have been provided by Paradise Park and are now the second breeding population in Cornwall. Soon to be joined by a male, their offspring will provide a valuable resource for red squirrel conservation in the UK.

Explaining the importance of Trewithen's red squirrels, Natasha Collings, CRSP co-ordinator, said:

"The aim of having the red squirrels here at Trewithen is twofold. The first is as an educational resource for both adults and children to highlight the plight of the red squirrel. Secondly, the juveniles will mean more young squirrels will become available for wild release into Cornwall and other parts of the UK."

Control work by the CRSP is underway to remove grey squirrels from the Penwith and Lizard Peninsulas in order to re-introduce the true, native red squirrels, with a likely timeframe of 3 to 5 years.

Eagar to see wild red squirrels on his estate once more, Michael Galsworthy, owner of Trewithen, said:

"I was a founding member of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project with the active and personal encouragement of HRH Prince Charles, who is patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust. With very fond memories of seeing red squirrels on the lawn in front of Trewithen House in the 1950s, I am thrilled to be able to help the CRSP and would like to pay particular tribute to Project Officer Natasha Collings and Paradise Park for all that they have done in helping to re-introduce the squirrels into appropriate areas of Cornwall."

ENDS 29 March 2012

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