Red squirrels make swift return to Paxton estate

editorial image

RED squirrels have been sighted at Paxton House, just two months after they were wiped out by pox.

Conservation group Red Squirrels in South Scotland (RSSS) believes that cross-border control of pox-carrying grey squirrels has allowed the reds to return, and that population levels can eventually return to normal.

Red squirrels with the pox were first noticed by estate staff in December 2011, and had died out by January.

Paxton House director Claire McDade quickly put an action plan into place to make the area suitable for the endangered animal.

Ms McDade said Paxton House is committed to attracting red squirrels back to their former haunt. “We’ve been working closely with Red Squirrels in South Scotland and are in the process of putting together our own Wildlife Advisory Group,” she said.

The resurgence in reds at Paxton has been supported by sightings in the surrounding area, including at Swinton, Duns and Chirnside.

The news comes as Elizabeth Bamford, lead volunteer of Berwick Save Our Squirrels, was awarded an Unsung Hero award from the Red Squirrel Survival Trust.