A series of digitally guided routes have been launched by Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels to help walkers discover more about one of the country’s most iconic yet threated animals.
The trails guide walkers through ancient and historic woodlands, as well as scenic areas where red squirrels have made a recent comeback due to conservation efforts.
Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park is one of the sites included in the Red Squirrel Ramble trails launched by the charity.
The walks can be accessed through mobile phones by using the MyGeoAdventure app. Walkers will be guided step-by-step through their journey, prompted with quizzes, challenges and the opportunity to collect wildlife tokens.
It is thought that the trail around the formal gardens and woodland area surrounding the park will take around 50 minutes to complete.
Other walks in the Red Squirrel Ramble trails include Atholl Estates’ Glen Tilt, RSPB Scotland’s Loch Lomond Reserve and the Woodland Trusts’ St. Ronans Wood in Innerleithen.
Scottish squirrel sightings
Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels operates in areas where the iconic mammals are most at risk from the invasive non-native grey squirrels.
Project manager, Mel Tonkin, said: “The walking trails are not only fantastic places to catch sight of a red squirrel in action, they are also located in the key project areas where we are working to ensure the long-term protection of this iconic Scottish species.
“The trails are designed to encourage people of all ages to get outdoors and have some fun, but we also hope they will inspire people to take action for red squirrels.”
The charity is asking locals to get involved by logging sightings of red and grey squirrels on their website.
All sightings are added to a national database that helps form the basis of long-term conservation plans for red squirrels in Scotland.
In May, there were concerns that grey squirrels could spread further into the Grampians and Highlands. They pose a threat to native Scottish squirrels as they compete for resources and carry the risk of Squirrelpox.
Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels issued an appeal to locals to log all sightings of both squirrels in an attempt to help monitor the spread.
According to the website, there has been 6,579 sightings of squirrels reported across Scotland and 4,698 of those sightings were red squirrels.