Ynys Môn, the Welsh island of Anglesey, is to become a ?Noah?s Ark? for endangered red squirrels. The island off Wales?s north coast has not escaped the spread of the non-native grey squirrel, but a pioneering project to clear its woodlands of the animals, co-ordinated by the Welsh Mountain Zoo, in Colwyn Bay, is now in its final stages.
Since 1998, an estimated 6,000 greys have been removed from Ynys Môn and it is believed that fewer than 100 exist there today. When the island is free of greys, red squirrels donated from zoos and private collections across the UK will be released on the island. There are already reds on the island from Thetford Forest, Cumbria and Scotland, and it is anticipated that it will soon become home to the most genetically diverse red squirrel population in the UK. Many are already genetically unique and are the only surviving individuals from UK populations where the animals have almost become extinct.