Prince Charles written a letter of support to the Red Squirrel Survival Trust to help mark Red Squirrel Appreciation Day today.
The Prince of Wales is the long-standing patron of the trust, and his letter expressed his encouragement and admiration for the efforts of volunteers fighting for the survival of the red squirrel.
Determined to build on their record of local successes, volunteers have collectively organised projects across the country to prevent further decline of red squirrel populations.
From Cumbria to Cornwall, and from the Scottish Borders to Northern Ireland, this conservation work on the ground is aimed at securing the last remaining strongholds.
In recognition of the thousands of volunteers fighting for the survival of the red squirrel, now less than 140,000 across the UK, Prince Charles said: “Without your efforts, we simply could not hope to succeed in the task we have set ourselves.
“Generations to come would be denied the pleasure we take for granted in the healthy woods that are now threatened as never before, and of which the red squirrel is both the symbol and, by its presence, the benchmark.
“As you will all know so well, these charming and intelligent creatures never fail to delight.
“I take enormous pleasure in having them around – and in! – the house when I am at home in Scotland.
“They are such inquisitive and delightful characters; they have even been known to hunt down a few of their favourite nuts left out in an unguarded jacket pocket!
“I am so very grateful to all of you, as volunteers, for the crucial role you play in this ongoing battle to protect and restore a precious part of our natural heritage.
“This brings you all my warmest good wishes, together with every possible encouragement for the task ahead.”
Stephen Trotter, a trustee, said: “I know all the many volunteers involved in red squirrel conservation across the UK will be delighted, inspired and grateful to read these warm words of thanks and encouragement from His Royal Highness.”
Have you got any photos of red squirrels in the area? Are you a volunteer?
Please send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org to help mark Red Squirrel Appreciation Day.