Squirrels need supporters

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A RED squirrel conservation group is appealing for funds and supporters.

Morpeth Red Squirrels works in and around the town, trapping and culling grey squirrels to preserve Northumberland’s native red species.

The group has previously received £2,800 for trapping expenses from the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, but the cash is expected to dry up by the end of the month.

Morpeth Red Squirrels Chairman Norris Atthey said: “We desperately need funds for trapping. Although we have a little bit of money left, we really need a fair amount to subsidise people who are prepared to help us out.

“We also need people to do some fund-raising on our behalf. It could be writing to companies, hosting tea partites, whatever they want. We just need people who are prepared to spend some time trying to raise funds for us.”

He says it is vital for the group’s work to continue as it is finding more grey squirrels in the area.

In 2009 the group trapped 102 greys, last year there were 356 and so far this year there have been more than 30, which is up on the same period last year.

The group believes that culling grey squirrels is the only way of protecting reds as greys compete for food, drive away red males and carry the deadly pox virus.

Anyone wishing to help the group can call Mr Atthey on 07980 636869 or email morpethreds@btinternet.com