Squirrel mania this half term

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The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, near Milnthorpe, is starting the May half term with a special Sunday session for families to raise awareness of red squirrels.

“Squirrel Sunday” is the idea of the zoo’s manager Jo Marsden, who has always loved red squirrels. Back in the 1990s she hand reared her first baby squirrel (named Erik the red).

Jo said: “Native red squirrels have been displaced from the Arnside Silverdale area – a perfect habitat - by the more successful, more destructive, introduced greys which also carry a pox which is lethal to reds. The captive group of breeding red squirrels here at the Oasis, protected from the greys, is now the only population of reds in this area. We are trying to help the Westmorland Red Squirrel Society’s efforts to reverse this trend and preserve red squirrels in their remaining heartland in the Lake District.”

One of the aims of The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is to make wildlife conservation accessible to everyone, regardless of what outdoor space is available.

As part of this initiative, on special events like Squirrel Sunday, children are encouraged to get active by recycling old plastic bottles into a bug hotel or bird feeder to take home among other projects and there will be lots of ideas on how to attract wildlife.

There will also be a range of activities such as checking the moth trap and pond dipping at set times during the day.

Visitors will be welcomed to take part in a nature scavenger hunt. In a nod to Erik, there will be a giant squirrel walking around and children will be invited to have their photo taken with him. Squirrel Sunday takes place on Bank Holiday Sunday May 29 between 10am–5pm. For further information, please contact Jo or Jayne at The Wildlife Oasis on 015395 63027.