Festive firs for squirrels

Christmas trees from Santa’s Grotto have been given a new lease of life in the red squirrel enclosure.

squirrel-4-webThe festive firs are providing enrichment for the endangered native species, as keepers hide snacks in the branches.

squirrel-4-webCurator, Matt Lewis, said: “We have hidden apples, pine nuts and sunflower seeds for our eight squirrels who also like to eat the buds on the trees and strip the bark off to drink the sap.”

The red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), our only native squirrel species, has been in decline since the introduction of the grey squirrel to Britain in the nineteenth century.

DZG has been part of a major conservation programme for red squirrels since 1996, and has seen 11 adults transferred to form breeding groups at other collections and reserves. 

CAPTION: Keeper Mollie Lloyd moves one of the Christmas trees from Santa’s Grotto into the red squirrel enclosure where they are providing enrichment for our eight-strong group.