SQUIRREL populations in Northumberland will come under the microscope in a massive volunteer programme.
More than 110 volunteers will be visiting around 270 woods across the North over the next two months to try to establish which species of squirrel are living in them.
The work, which is led by staff from the Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) conservation partnership, will include visual counts, remote cameras and sticky pads to trap squirrel hairs.
The findings will then establish a baseline to judge the success of conservation efforts, with initial information published in June and the monitoring programme repeated biannually.
RSNE Research Officer Adam Seward said: “We are grateful to all the volunteers helping with this enormous survey and will make sure this information is quickly analysed, published and used to inform grey squirrel control activity in red squirrel areas.”
Partners include local Wildlife Trusts, the Forestry Commission, Natural England, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, volunteer groups in the Northern Red Squirrel Network and landowners, with funding provided by Biffaward.
Members of the public can report any squirrel sightings online at www.rsne.org.uk/sightings