Enva Scotland Ltd is feeding the local red squirrel population in storm-damaged woodlands as part of Aberdeenshire Council’s contract and tendering process.

A total of 20 feeders were purchased to be shared between Gauchhill Wood in Kintore and Haddo Country Park in Ellon—areas badly hit by storms in previous years, damaging the natural habitat of the squirrels.

Around 75% of the UK’s remaining red squirrel population is found in Scotland and their numbers have fallen drastically in recent decades. This is largely due to the more robust grey squirrels out competing reds for food and living space, making it difficult for red squirrels to breed and for their young to survive.

Junior rangers installed nine of the squirrel feeders in Haddo Country Park and filled them with peanuts as a practical and educational task, accompanied by Aberdeenshire Council’s Countryside Ranger for Formartine and Haddo Forum’s Assistant Visitor Services Officer.

A camera was affixed nearby to one of the feeders so that the group could observe any red squirrels feeding. The junior rangers can also return throughout the year to refill the feeders

The Junior Ranger programme, by the Scottish Countryside Rangers' Association, is for 11 to 18-year-olds and leads to a Junior Ranger Award. It focusses on enjoyment and outdoor learning to develop environmental awareness, skills, and understanding of the ranger profession.

The remaining feeders will be installed in Gauchhill Wood in May by local groups, Kintore Guides and Sustainability Kintore.

Aberdeenshire Council encourages sustainable community action through its tendering processes, with bidders for contracts being asked how their organisation will assist the council in furthering its sustainability or community objectives.

Enva, a leading provider of recycling and resource recovery solutions, currently holds the contract to process Aberdeenshire’s mixed recycling and chose to support the local red squirrel population as part of its sustainability and community benefit agreement.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor John Crawley said: “It is fantastic that this has resulted in some awareness raising for the plight of our red squirrels alongside support for their storm-damaged habitats and an educational experience for junior rangers. This is exactly the type of thing that our sustainability and community clauses should be about.”

Vice-chair Councillor Isobel Davidson added: “Red squirrels are an important aspect of our local wildlife. The council always aims to carry out its activities in a responsible and sustainable manner, and it is great to see a collaborative process like this helping our only native squirrel species.”

Enva Account Manager Chris Sloey said: “We are more than happy to be making the financial contribution, helped and assisted through the contract set up by Aberdeenshire Council and the community benefit aspect of the contract.”

Help monitor the red and grey squirrel situation in north east of Scotland by submitting squirrel sightings to the Scottish Squirrels website: scottishsquirrels.org.uk

You can also learn more about the council’s Ranger Service and their objectives online at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/leisure-sport-and-culture/ranger-service/

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