The New Healthy Reds Project will kick off with some new staff. Red Squirrel Officer Becky Hulme is leaving WTSWW and will be replaced by Sarah Purdon. Grey Squirrel Control Officer Ben Allen will be joined by Phil Harries who will be focusing on grey squirrel control in the east of the Focal Site.
Becky Hulme has been a Red Squirrel Officer for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) for over five years. Becky was the first Red Squirrel Officer for mid Wales, and took no time getting stuck in, setting up a Trap Loan Scheme, as well as creating a website and leaflets for the Project in her first year. She soon moved on to setting up red squirrel surveys across the Focal Site, and with the help of volunteers identified red squirrel presence in several forests where there had not been records of red squirrels for many years.
Becky has found a new post with the RSPB, from mid September she will be taking the role of Warden at the Gwenffrwd Dinas Reserve above Rhandirmwyn.
Becky remarked: “I am delighted to have been offered a job with RSPB. The Gwenffrwd Dinas Reserve is an amazing place, and I am glad that I will be continuing to work within the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Focal Site. I will be on the look out for grey squirrels, and you can be sure that I’ll be trapping and reducing numbers whenever I can. The Project has identified red squirrels in the neighbouring forestry plantations, it t would be absolutely amazing be able to offer a home for red squirrels in the precious Atlantic Oak Woodland at Dinas.”
I feel honoured to have worked with such amazing volunteers over the past few years. Their dedication to conservation has been mind-blowing, donating vast amounts of their time and energy to help save red squirrels. I feel that I’ve helped make a good start for the Project, but WTSWW has much more work to do if the future of red squirrels in mid Wales is to be safeguarded. The new Healthy Reds Project will go a long way in helping to secure a future for our cherished red squirrels, and I know that with Sarah leading the Project, it is in good hands.”
Becky will be replaced by Sarah Purdon. Sarah has been working for WTSWW as an Assistant Warden on Skomer Island for the last few years. She is keen to start in the role of Red Squirrel Officer and to meet the project volunteers. You can contact Sarah on 07972 201202
Phil Harries is joining the Project as a second Grey Squirrel Control Officer. Phil has had over thirty-five years experience of squirrel management. He has been an active part of the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership for many years. As well as grey squirrel control, Phil has assisted with red squirrel surveys in mid Wales and has previously been licenced for handling reds. Phil will be a great bonus to the Project and will be focusing on grey squirrel control in the Llanwrtyd Wells, Beulah, Cynghordy, Cilycwm and Rhandirmwyn areas to the east of the Focal Site.