Wildlife Wonders with Ben Fogle
For a relatively small island in the English Channel, Jersey really packs a punch when it comes to wildlife. Its mild climate and geographical location make it the perfect environment for a whole host of marine, plant and bird species. One proud little member of this exclusive community is the red squirrel. Sadly, its numbers are dwindling across the UK, but, in Jersey, their future looks bright thanks to protective measures and the support of a very famous face.
Red squirrels were once a common sighting across mainland UK, however with destroyed habitats and the rise in the grey squirrel population, there has been an estimated 92% decline of the population over the past few decades – with risk of extinction within 30 years. Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, has safeguarded its red squirrel population through the protection of woodland areas, along with the added benefit of no grey squirrels migrating to the island.
At the end of last year, Visit Jersey teamed up with conservationist Ben Fogle to launch the first-ever Little Red Squirrel Count, an initiative to preserve the future of one of the island’s most precious fauna. The campaign looked to raise awareness of the red squirrel amongst future generations. New UK research commissioned by Visit Jersey, polling both parents and children, has sadly found that one in four children have never seen a red squirrel in their lives, with 1.1 million children admitting to not being able to even identify the creature if they spotted one in the wild.
Furthermore, over a third of parents have also admitted to never having seen one in the wild. Protecting wildlife is of utmost importance to ensure that all animals continue to thrive in their natural habitats. With 3.9 million parents finding it important to teach their children about nature, including animals and their habitats, Jersey wants to encourage families by learning about the island’s flourishing red squirrel population.
“I’m delighted to be involved in Jersey’s Little Red Squirrel Count and hope it encourages families to get outdoors and explore the beautiful woodland areas,” says Ben Fogle. “Educating my own children about local wildlife has always been a passion, and with red squirrels in decline across parts of the UK, it’s been great to learn more about how Jersey’s protected land has led to the thriving population of these tiny creatures.”
I’m delighted to be involved in Jersey’s Little Red Squirrel Count and hope it encourages families to get outdoors and explore the beautiful woodland areas.
What better excuse to get out and about in nature than squirrel-spotting? Don’t forget those binoculars!