Wight Squirrel Project was founded and is currently managed, voluntarily, by Helen Butler BSc MBE, the Isle of Wight's leading Red Squirrel expert. The project is run by volunteers, all are unpaid but highly important to the project We are affiliated to registered charity The Conservation Volunteers. Post mortems on red squirrels are carried out by Helen Butler. Histology is courtesy of vet, Vic Simpson and various laboratories.
Published papers include:
Sick, injured and occasionally young squirrels are brought to us for care 3000 newsletters are produced annually. Bio Bubble kindly contributes towards printing costs.
If you are able to help out with Wight Squirrel Project running costs either financially or by offering space at shows (the Chale Show and Wolverton Show for instance) please get in touch. It is through these events that we are able to continue our work - having to pay for stalls is a big drain on our funds, so if they're free, it means that more of the WSP money can go to help out the squirrels.
The Project works with (and sometimes against!) other organisations such as the Forestry Commission, Isle of Wight Council, Wildlife Trusts, National Trust and so on.
The Isle of Wight was the first place in the country to put rope bridges across busy roads to save small, fragmented populations of red squirrels from local extinction.
We use non-invasive methods of research as red squirrels stress and sometimes die during handling. Wildcams may be used or 'hair-tubes' which are merely a foot length of drainpipe with sticky pads placed eitherend and food in the middle. As the squirrel enters to take out food it leaves hairs on the sticky pad. These are then examined under a microscope to ensure that they came from a red squirrel.
Research, monitoring and surveys are carried out regularly. All possible sightings of grey squirrels are taken seriously and Wight Squirrel Project follows up immediately all reports. No living grey squirrel sightings have been confirmed. It is very easy to misidentify as reds are often greyish in colour.
If you think you have a bit of time to help out, please get in touch! Would you like to volunteer? Volunteers for all aspects of our work are needed. Training given where necessary and references required for some posts. Please email Helen for more information and an application form.
For more information on red squirrels and projects on the island, visit the IOW Red Squirrel Trust website.
You can easily and effectively help red squirrels by becoming a Friend of the Red Squirrel. Become our Friend.
Have you seen a Red Squirrel on the Isle of Wight?. Please let us know.