Red squirrels seen playing in Castle Ward estate after reintroduction effort

Four red squirrels have been successfullyr reintroduced to Castle Ward estate, outside Strangford, to help the threatened mammals make a comeback in Northern Ireland. Red squirrels have faced huge declines in the UK and Ireland due to the spread of the invasive grey squirrel from North America and the loss of habitat. However, they are slowly starting to recover thanks to conservation efforts. Ulster Wildlife said Castle Ward's woodland offers the perfect location for reds to flourish as it is free from grey squirrels, thanks to a healthy pine marten population which provides natural control, alongside help from local volunteers. The introduction is part of ongoing efforts between the National Trust, Ulster Wildlife, Belfast Zoo, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and the Heart of Down Red Squirrel Group to secure the future of the increasingly rare mammal.