Birmingham’s secret squirrels set for release into the wild

By on 27/02/2012 in News

Red squirrels bred in captivity at Birmingham Nature Centre are set to be released into the wild as part of a campaign to save the endangered species.

Two squirrels born and reared at the centre will be taken to a secret UK location, while another will go to a different animal collection to continue the breeding programme.

And Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Cllr Martin Mullaney, says Birmingham should be proud of the conservation work undertaken at the centre.

In addition to red squirrels, Birmingham Nature Centre has played a key part in global projects to protect a number of endangered, including Pied Tamarins, Golden Lion Tamarins, Golden Headed Lion Tamarins, Red Pandas, Northern Bald Ibis, Ruffed Lemurs and Jamaican Boas.

Cllr Mullaney, said: “We should all be extremely proud of the work carried out at Birmingham Nature Centre - not just with red squirrels but with a number of endangered species.

“The Nature Centre isn't just a popular family attraction. It's also a renowned centre of excellence for a number of breeding programmes, working with conservationists across the world.

“Now the centre is playing a key role in safeguarding the red squirrel, which is one of the UK's most loved native species.”

Once a common sight in British woodland, red squirrels are now mainly confined to northern pine forests and islands such as Brownsea in Poole Harbour and Anglesey.

The release of non-native grey squirrels in the 19th century is the main cause of their sharp decline, as the grey is larger, more aggressive and better adapted to broad-leaved woodland. It is also is a carrier of the squirrel pox virus, which is deadly to the reds.

Birmingham Nature Centre is one of a number of animal collections working to bolster the red squirrel population.

ENDS

For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

Notes to editors

  • Birmingham Nature Centre is home to a wide range of animals and reptiles from across the world, including some endangered species.
  • The Nature Centre is now open all year round.
  • Summer (commencing the first week of April) 10.00am – 5.00pm, last admission 4.00pm.
  • Winter (commencing the last weekend of October) 10.00am – 4.00pm, last admission 3.00pm.

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