Grey squirrel control plan launched
Farmers have been urged to protect native red squirrels by curbing the spread of invasive grey squirrels on their land.
They are being urged to take advantage of a joint pest control initiative between the Ulster Farmers Union and the British Trust for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Under the scheme, farmers with grey squirrels on their land will be put in touch with a BASC member who will be able to help reduce their numbers.
Since the scheme was launched in 2011, BASC members have dealt with a range of pests across Northern Ireland including feral pigeons in sheds, woodpigeons eating crops and foxes taking newborn lambs.
UFU deputy president Ian Marshall said: "The pest control scheme is provided free of charge and has proved popular, providing farmers with much needed help with pests which are damaging crops, taking livestock and spreading disease."
Northern Ireland Red Squirrel Forum chair, Declan Looney, said the only way to secure the future of the threatened red squirrel is to reduce the grey population as much as possible.