The threatened red squirrel received the support of a royal backer recently when HRH The Prince of Wales called, at the launch of the new Red Squirrel Survival Trust, for the endangered mammal to become a national mascot.

The Prince, who will act as patron to the trust, was speaking at its official launch at Levens Hall, near Kendal, in Cumbria, on 3 April. The new national charity is dedicated to highlighting the problem of Britain’s dwindling red squirrel population, which is now severely at risk thanks to the growing number of grey squirrels.

“I cannot think of a better mascot for our country than the red squirrel,” said the Prince at the launch. “Perhaps that might make people realise what it is that they are about to lose.”

The Prince also criticised “man’s short-sightedness” for the squirrel’s plight: “The terrifying reality is that, within a decade, if we cannot work together to bring in the necessary funding for the task that needs to be done, the red squirrel could be extinct right across the United Kingdom.”

For more information on the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, visit www.rsst.org.uk.

The rest of this article appears in 16 April issue of Shooting Times.

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