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Red squirrel stronghold to be uncovered

By Linda McKee

Published 03/10/2007

One of the few remaining strongholds of the red squirrel in Belfast will be uncovered this Sunday.



Between 2pm and 4pm, people will be learning more about one of Northern Ireland's most popular native mammals at Belvoir Park Forest in south Belfast as part of Red Squirrel Week.

The family event, organised by the Ulster Wildlife Trust and DARD Forest Service, will explore the habitat of the red squirrel in Belfast and explain why red squirrels are still found in this area when they have been lost to many others.

There will also be squirrel-inspired children's activities and guided walks for both adults and children.

Cathy Bradshaw, outreach and learning manager with the Ulster Wildlife Trust, said: "This event will give visitors the opportunity to learn more about the red squirrel, including why it's under threat, its habits and behaviour, and the difference between the red and grey squirrel.

"There will also be activities throughout the afternoon including crafts and games for children and a guided walk through the woodland, where we might even spot a few red squirrels."

The red squirrel is a key species for the Ulster Wildlife Trust and concern for their future has been highlighted before - indeed it is listed on the Environment and Heritage Service Priority Species list for Northern Ireland.

This denotes it as a scarce, rare or declining species.

As squirrels do not hibernate over winter, this event provides an ideal opportunity to learn more about this special creature which can be spotted all year round.

Please remember to wear appropriate footwear and warm and waterproof clothing suitable for a woodland walk. There is no charge for this event.

As places are limited, booking is advisable, through the Ulster Wildlife Trust on 028 4483 0282 during office hours.

Glenariff Forest Park will also be hosting 'The Red Said' this Sunday as part of Red Squirrel Week with fun for all the family including quizzes, painting, guided walks and storytelling by Liz Weir.

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