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©Neil McIntryre

Environment charity in line for grant to help save squirrels and the Gaelic language

Written by Editorial Team, Donr

Published on Tuesday, 16th October 2018

Scotland’s only entry in the Forests category of a leading international conservation competition could see funds secured to create a lifeline for the country’s red squirrel population, as well as boosting nature tourism and the Gaelic language in the north-west Highlands.

Scottish environment charity, Trees for Life, is looking for online votes for its Reds Return initiative. If the initiative triumphs over the competition in its category, it will receive more than £25,000 from the European Outdoor Conservation Association.

A cash injection of such significance would allow the charity to reintroduce red squirrels from already thriving populations in Inverness-shire and Moray to four north-west Highland woodlands, where they will be safe to spread; away from the threat of grey squirrels. 

It is also hoped that the project will benefit rural economies; nature tourism opportunities such as guided walks, leaflets and events will be used to attract visitors, while local people will be encouraged to get involved through citizen science schemes set up to learn about, monitor and protect red squirrels. 

Furthermore, as Gaelic is a threatened minority language, new teaching materials about red squirrels in both Gaelic and English, as well as events in both languages for locals and visitors.

‘This is about breathing new life into the Highlands by helping to save red squirrels, helping hard-pressed rural economies through wildlife tourism, and helping to promote Gaelic,’ said Steve Micklewright, Trees for Life’s Chief Executive. ‘We are urging everyone to vote for us in this competition.’

Head to the charity’s website to find out how to support Trees for Life’s Reds Return initiative in the online poll.