Red squirrels were brought to Glenarm from the Caledon Estate in Tyrone in 1970s and a colony has survived at Glenarm to this day. Voluntary efforts over the years have sustained this Colony. Forestry personnel and members of Ulster Wildlife contributed in time and kind in the maintenance and supplementary feeders regime. A local Glenarm Wildlife Group was formed in 2006 and help with the feeding at the Straidkelly Nature Reserve.
In more recent years there has been a more concerted plan for the protection of the Red Squirrel by the Glens Red Squirrel Group who now work in partnership with some of the membership of the Glenarm Wildlife Group. Six supplementary Feeders are in place forming a short trail for the visiting public to follow. Sightings of the Reds Squirrel are now being recorded by this visiting public.
Some facts about Red Squirrels ;
• They are the native species
• They are smaller than the non native Grey Squirrel.
• Their preference is to live mostly in Conifer forests favouring the cones of Larch,
Douglas Fir, Pine and Spruce. Other trees like Bird and Wild Cherry, Blackthorn,
Bramble, Hawthorn and Wytch Elm can provide a secondary food source.
• Grey squirrels compete more successfully for food.
• Squirrel pox causes a severe clinical disease and mortality in the Red Squirrels
• Grey Squirrels are a carrier of this virus.