Howick is one of the few places left in the UK where we still have red squirrels, a native largely driven out by the grey squirrel elsewhere. You may see one anywhere in the wooded areas of the garden or arboretum or on the feeder outside the tearoom window.
Red Squirrels Northern England
Red squirrels in the UK are under threat from the introduced grey squirrel. Numbers in the UK have fallen from a onetime high thought to be around 3.5 million, to a current estimated population of around 120,000. The population in England is thought to be as low as 15,000. The most significant threat associated with grey squirrels is the spread and transmission of a disease called squirrelpox virus. Grey squirrels do not suffer from the virus but once a red has become infected they will invariably die within two weeks. Red Squirrels Northern England is a new project that aims to increase red squirrel populations through a program of tightly monitored and targeted grey squirrel control. We also carry out biannual monitoring of red and grey squirrel distribution throughout the north of England. To find out more about our work, please visit www.rsne.org.uk.