Experts hope to bring red squirrels back to the Fylde

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Britain’s beloved red squirrels are making a comeback and experts hope they will one day return to the Fylde coast.

After years of decline, the native red squirrel has been increasingly spotted in Lancashire.

The animal has strongholds in West Lancashire, but has recently been spotted in Preston and North and West Lancashire.

Now conservationists hope the loveable reds, which recently looked doomed to extinction in the UK within 20 years, will eventually set up home on the Fylde coast.

Red Squirrel Week has been highlighting the animal’s recovery from the deadly squirrel pox which wiped out around 80 per cent of the region’s population.

“In 2008 the outlook was very bleak,” said Rachel Miller, the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s red squirrel project officer.

“The virus is carried by grey squirrels, which are immune to it, but it is fatal to red squirrels.

“Thanks to the perseverance and dedication of our volunteers and project officers, the population recovered quickly and has now increased to just over 80 per cent of the pre-pox numbers”

“Protecting the red squirrel population requires constant effort,” added Rachel.

“We want to create suitable grey-free habitat for reds to re-colonise. This project, with the help of volunteers and vigilant members of the public, could mean reds extending their territory throughout the North West.”