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Fans of red squirrels are likely to bump into lots of them across Inverness, Ross & Skye District – home to some of the best squirrel hotspots sites in Scotland.
Forestry Commission Scotland, which has long been working with SNH and private landowners to help red squirrels and prevent the spread of greys, reckons that all the effort is paying off.
The District has no fewer than six of the country's very best squirrel hotspot forests where, because reds do not hibernate, sightings are virtually guaranteed all year round!
Graeme Prest, the Commission's District Manger for Inverness, Ross & Skye, said:
“The forests around Inverness are pretty much red squirrel heaven – or you’d be forgiven for thinking so, given the number of locations where they can be viewed in the wild.
“We’re working hard to keep this a grey-free zone – and to do what we can to encourage red squirrels – so we have a pretty healthy and robust population of red squirrels across our area.
“Rather than taking a chance on seeing one when you ramble through a wood, visiting a hotspot can be a much better option. All of these sites have volunteer-maintained feeders that are really popular with the squirrels, so you have a good chance of sighting red squirrels being their usual mischievous, endearing and captivating selves.”
The top viewing locations - all of which are close to car parks to enhance accessibility – are: Torrachilty (Ross-shire), Craig Phadrig ( Inverness), Craig Dunain (Inverness), School Wood, Farr (Inverness-shire), Foyers (Inverness-shire) and Laggan (Cairngorms).
A leaflet highlighting the red squirrel hotspots can be downloaded from http://www.redsquirrelsofthehighlands.co.uk/blog/2011/12/13/new-leaflet-available
Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2. For news, events and recreation information log on to www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests. For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotland
3. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0131 314 6507.