Squirrel’s new Kelling Heath home hopes to boost breeding programme

A bereaved red squirrel has moved to the North Norfolk coast to start a new life.

She used to be at Easton College near Norwich but after the death of her male partner has switched to the Kelling Heath holiday park at Weybourne.

It is hoped she will breed with the existing male that has been at Kelling since the autumn of last year.

David Martin, arboricultural warden at the park, said they were pleased the park could provide a new home and a mate so quickly.

"They are quite difficult to breed in captivity and the conditions need to be absolutely perfect before they will.

'We are thrilled to have the female and the hope is that the pair will now produce kittens, as young baby squirrels are called.'

The breeding programme, part of a national initiative, aims to set up a reserve of animals, which can be used for controlled and closely-monitored release projects.

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Mr Martin said that, without captive breeding programmes, the red squirrel could well become extinct on mainland Britain.

"The reasons for the decline of the red squirrel population in mainland Britain are many and varied, but it is now a sad fact of life that very few people have actually seen a red in their natural habitat.

'Unless we encourage vital schemes like these, the species may be lost to us forever."

Kelling Heath, which has won a string of awards for conservation and environmental work, has so far bred 20 squirrels.

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