Prince Charles sends a letter of thanks to volunteers helping to save our native red squirrels

The Prince of Wales has shown his support for the work of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust in a letter to its volunteers.

The Prince of Wales has sent a message of thanks to volunteers working to save native red squirrels.

To mark this week’s Red Squirrel Appreciation Day, Prince Charles, a long-standing Patron of the RSST expressed his encouragement and admiration for the efforts of volunteers.

There are currently fewer than 140,000 red squirrels across the UK and the charity has collectively organised projects around the country to prevent any further decline in numbers.

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In his message, 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.” RSST Trustee Stephen Trotter who has worked extensively on conservation projects across the

North of England said the charity is “lucky and proud” to have Prince Charles as its Patron.

“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. There is no doubt his continued support helps direct a spotlight on this important work.”

Mr Trotter added that the RSST is looking forward to working closely with the volunteers and members of local red squirrel groups around the UK.

“It is these groups and volunteers who undertake 80 per cent of the conservation activity which is so critical to the survival of red squirrels on the mainland.

“It is their hard work and commitment that is largely responsible for saving the species from inevitable extinction in those parts of the British Isles where it still survives despite the presence and expansion of grey squirrels.”

One of these areas is North Yorkshire which has a stable population living in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.