The three-year, £1.3million Saving Scotland?s Red Squirrels (SSRS) campaign is sponsored by the Scottish Government.
The project, which will see tens of thousands of grey squirrels trapped and killed by volunteers, control officers and landowners, is being run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association.
Organisers aim to encourage and support landowners to undertake woodland management techniques to help red squirrels thrive alongside a strategic approach to grey squirrel control.
Mel Tonkin, SSRS project manager, said: ?The red squirrel is the UK?s only native squirrel but it is in danger of becoming extinct on mainland Scotland if action is not taken to protect it. Only 121,000 reds are now thought to remain in Scotland as numbers have rapidly declined due to the presence and spread of the grey squirrel.?
Michael Russell (then environment minister) supported the move: ?The red squirrel is one of our most valuable native species and Scotland is one of the few sanctuaries it has left. We have only a short time to save the red squirrel from the brink of extinction.?
For more information on the project visit www.swt.org.uk.