Red squirrels on the return to Aberdeen

RED squirrels appear to be making a comeback in Scotland, and it hoped Aberdeenshire will become a new stronghold for the threatened species.

There have even been sightings of reds in Aberdeen city centre, where they haven’t been seen for years.

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels conservation project surveyed several sites in spring and autumn, and reported a thriving population of the much-loved native animals.

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Along with new sightings in Aberdeen and its suburbs, there are less greys in the area.

The project has been working with landowners and the Forestry Commission to set traps for greys in a bid to give native red squirrels a chance to return.

Dr Mel Tonkin, project manager for Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, said: “I think it’s encouraging that they are returning in quite large numbers.

“We’ve had sightings in Hazelheard and Miltimber, it’s quite unusual to see them in suburban areas. They are able to re-colonise areas which have been cleared of greys.”

Grey squirrels also pose a threat to Scottish trees, she added.

“Greys strip the bark off trees. So from an environmental point of view it may be a good thing.”