Endangered species – Water Voles and Red Squirrels:

Water Voles:-
Some of you might have noticed rather curious raft-like structures in isolated streams in our glens – all part of the ongoing Cairngorms Water Vole Conservation Project. This is being run by Cairngorms Biodiversity Unit as joint venture between Cairngorms National Park Authority, SNH and Aberdeen University.

The influx of the extremely predatory Wild Mink has caused havoc with the native Water Vole population and, in attempt to arrest, if not reverse this trend, a Project has been set up. Its aim is to use a sustainable community-based management approach to reduce the densities of Mink across the Cairngorms area and try to maintain a manageable level in the future.

Should anyone come across Mink, or signs of them, it would be appreciated if they could contact the project team, who would then follow up with appropriate action. rosbryce@cairngorms.co.uk Instructions are normally attached to a post near the raft.

Red Squirrels:-

Much has been written about the threat to our native Red Squirrel, with the gradual intrusion of the introduced Grey beginning to take effect over a more widespread area. Certainly they have made significant inroads in lower Deeside and it is hoped that their outward spread can be halted. The native Red has is certainly becoming a rarer sight in the area. The invasion of the Greys is a legacy of some sloppy acts in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This fact does not appear to be appreciated further south – we have the problem, we created the problem and should do all we can to assist in its eradication.

The good news is that the Grampian Squirrel Group (.co.uk) is now established to help tackle the problem. Any sightings of the Grey in the Don and Dee valley systems should be reported to squirrelofficer@grampiansquirrelgroup.co.uk.

We see, or should see, a lot on our outings and any help we can give to control those unwelcome invaders would be much appreciated. Observe, note and report but do not interfere!

Gordon Strachan

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