The castle where I’m a Celeb is being filmed wants to explore reintroducing red squirrels on its estate.
The team at Gwrych Castle, near Abergele, was responding to Darren Millar, the Member of the Senedd for Clwyd West, Red Squirrel Species Champion, who is urging people to “protect this super furry animal.”
He chose the topic for a Short Debate in the Welsh Parliament called “Iconic Welsh wildlife”, where he highlighted the plight of Wales’ red squirrels.
The grey squirrel was introduced to the island of Britain from America in 1876. It carries a virus fatal to its red cousin. The number of grey squirrels climbed to 2.5 million with reds reduced to 120,000.
But now there are efforts to reintroduce the red squirrel in Wales and experts say the native reds are bouncing back. For example, on Anglesey the population has leapt from 40 to over 700 in recent years.
Mr Millar said: “Chuffed to be leading the first ever Senedd debate on the #redsquirrels. As the red squirrel champion it has been a pleasure partnering with @RedSquirrelsinW, @RedCrst, @Welshsquirrels and volunteers across Wales who work tirelessly to protect this super furry animal!”
The Gwrych Castle Trust said: “We would love to explore reintroducing red squirrels to the Gwrych Castle Estate.”
Mr Millar said: “Since the 1940s, the red squirrel population has gone from covering the majority of Wales to having a population in just three main centres, one on Ynys Môn, one in mid Wales, and one in the Clocaenog Forest in my own constituency.
“Now, I know that there are many species represented by many individuals in this Chamber, but I do think it would be an opportune time to request an update on the action that is being taken by the Welsh Government to protect red squirrels, and, indeed, other threatened species across the country”.
He added: “These beautiful creatures were once common throughout Wales, but there are now only three main populations remaining.
“Smaller pockets may persist but their long-term future is unknown. I will continue doing all I can to protect this threatened species.”