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Red Squirrels arrive by first class special delivery

The community on Tresco Island, Isles of Scilly, was boosted yesterday (Wednesday 18 September) after 20 red squirrels arrived by helicopter to take up residence.

The squirrels, made up of a mix of males and females, were transported safely from the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey. The final leg of the journey saw the endangered species board a Royal Navy Air Squadron training flight from RNAS Culdrose direct to Tresco.

The re-homing of the red squirrels is part of an induction programme and was organised collaboratively by Robin Page, the Daily Telegraph’s countryside editor, the Countryside Restoration Trust, Tresco Island and the British Wildlife Centre.

As a private island, Tresco will be a secure home for the declining red squirrels and it is hoped that they will breed.

Mike Nelhams, Abbey Garden’s curator, will be taking care of the new inhabitants on the island along with David Hamilton who in addition to running the Abbey’s kitchen garden, will also be looking after the reds day to day.

Commenting on their arrival Mike said: “David and I accompanied the squirrels all the way from Surrey so it was very exciting when they eventually landed on Tresco - their new home. We are very grateful to the Royal Navy which was able to coincide bringing the squirrels over to Tresco with a planned exercise flight.”

Mike added: “The squirrels spent a few hours acclimatising to their new surroundings but are now roaming the island freely. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on them to make sure they settle in.”

The red squirrels have joined two others that were brought over to Tresco last year.

There are more squirrel images on our Facebook page.

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