Public Citizen Science Effort Creates Snapshot Of Squirrel Distributions Across Scotland

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Participants of the 2022 Great Scottish Squirrel Survey have helped to build a better picture of red and grey squirrel distributions across Scotland, helping conservation efforts across the country.


Members of the public helped contribute significantly to red squirrel conservation in Scotland by reporting sightings during the annual Great Scottish Squirrel Survey Week in October of last year. This was the 4th year of the survey, which has proved invaluable towards building a picture of both red and grey squirrel distributions across the country. The information collected during the survey directly influences work carried out by Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, a project led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust that has been going for the last 14 years to help save this iconic species.


A total of 659 people took part in the survey, with 255 grey squirrel and 510 red squirrel sightings reported in total, more than triple the number of sightings reported in a typical week.


The survey confirmed that the red-only population of the Highlands remains safe and free of grey squirrels thanks to efforts by staff protecting the Highland Boundary Fault Line. It also shows that concerted work in Aberdeen has been very successful, with reds returning and grey numbers significantly decreasing in the city. In South Scotland a mix of the two species remains, but volunteers are working hard to keep numbers of grey squirrels low in this region.


Nicole Still, Programme Manager for Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels said: “We are deeply grateful to all volunteers and members of the public for submitting their sightings during the 2022 Great Scottish Squirrel Survey. Sightings of both species are vital as we work across the country, collaborating with partners and stakeholders to help save the iconic red squirrel from its main threat, the non-native grey squirrel. We strongly encourage people to continue to report sightings with us, just this small act of citizen participation can make a big difference to our efforts.”

Sightings can be reported year-round at

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is a partnership project led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and supported by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, along with other partners.

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