Red Squirrels and hedgehogs under risk of extinction, says national review

The national picture does not look good for red squirrels, but the Isle of Wight is different. Our physical boundary of water makes a huge difference in the fight against the American grey squirrels.

red squirrel

You might have been concerned to hear yesterday (Wednesday) that according to the Mammal Society, “almost one in five of British mammal species face a high risk of extinction”.

The news follows the release of first comprehensive review of their populations for more than 20 years.

On the list of those who face severe threats to their survival are the red squirrel, wildcat and the grey long-eared bat.

Red squirrels on the Island
Islanders will be pleased to hear that red squirrels on the Isle of Wight are doing well.

Helen Butler from the Isle of Wight Red Squirrel Trust told OnTheWight,

“I’m carrying out Islandwide surveys looking at corridor links and how the squirrels use parks and gardens as well as woods.

“I looked a woodland blocks in 2016 and 90% were used by squirrels. I’m also working with Bournemouth University looking at the genetics.”

The picture appears to be not as good for hedgehogs though, as Helen says,

“How often do you see a dead hedgehog in the road nowadays?”

National picture
The review – commissioned by Natural England working in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural Resources Wales – also found other mammals such as the hedgehog and water vole have seen their populations decline by up to 66% over the past 20 years.

For the full report visit The Mammal Society’s Website.

Report from The Mammal Society. Ed

Image: © John Ambler

Thursday, 14th June, 2018 8:06am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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10 Comments on "Red Squirrels and hedgehogs under risk of extinction, says national review"

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What I don’t understand is why, as an island, we are not doing more to promote and preserve the red squirrels and their habitat. But not just this island, but the bigger mainland island too. A missed opportunity.


I’m in favour of shooting the American ones. And not just the squirrels.
Are hedgehogs affected by the massive increase in the badger population, to vermin level in some places?


We had two hedgehogs in our garden the other day. First I’ve seen in years. It’s a knock on effect of short sighted use of pesticides killing off the food chain.
One more thing – Before anybody gets all misty eyed over the cute Red Squirrels ask yourself do you eat meat? Pigs, Cows, Fish and Chickens ( to name a few) deserve life too.


On the other hand, if squirrels were eaten, then it is unlikely they would be endangered. They would be farmed instead, like Pigs Cows & Chickens, which don’t appear on the endangered species list.


With respect I think most animals would rather live free and endangered than in a concentration camp…


Are you suggesting, CB500, that these animals are capable of abstract choice?


Wow, you’re clever! Words or compassion – your choice.


I choose common sense.


They are in decine on the Island because of the large numbers of uncontrolled predators anyone who spends large amounts of time in the countryside knows this

Steve Goodman


Some of us spending large amounts of time in the countryside know that predators are only part of the problem, especially in places like the Island without the more successful greys, and that other factors causing decline of the reds and the hogs include traffic and the loss of habitat and food sources.