An arboretum in North Yorkshire has welcomed four newly born squirrels as part of a project to boost their population.
The new arrivals were born to two mothers Holly and Hazel along with dad Erik the Red, who arrived at the Yorkshire Arboretum last winter.
The baby red squirrels are the first to be born at the arboretum and have begun taking their first trips out to the nest box, according to a spokesperson.
Their purpose-built unit that spans 2,500m was opened on Saturday 1st April. The first of the newborns, Hazel’s, arrived in mid-June. Whilst Holly’s trio have recently taken their first trip our for visitors to see.
The BBC reported that Ben Paterson said the team was “really pleased that the squirrels have bred so soon”.
“We really didn’t know if they would [breed], so this is wonderful,” he said.”The kits will eventually go on to other facilities, ensuring that there’s a viable population of captive red squirrels to use in reintroduction projects in future.
“The animals live in a 2,500 sq m (26,909 sq ft) enclosure near Castle Howard, which opened on 1 April and is designed to keep grey squirrels out.The parent red squirrels are part of a breeding network that aims to ensure there is a genetically diverse population of the species in captivity.