A conservation programme run by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), is to be expanded across Wales with the help of a grant of £137,000 from Natural Resources Wales (NRW). The money will help aid the recovery of endangered water vole and red squirrel populations.
Through its Green Shoots conservation programme BASC will work with members, farmers, partner organisations and other volunteers to create a network of people who can monitor and control mink and grey squirrel.
Ian Danby, BASC’s head of biodiversity projects, said: “The extension of our Green Shoots programme is an evolution of our existing conservation work in North Wales and we are delighted to have continued support from Natural Resources Wales and the wide range of partners we will be working with. Our volunteers have a fantastic track record of working together to monitor and record sightings of mink and grey squirrel and we are looking forward to expanding our volunteer network further across Wales and building on the good work already carried out under the Green Shoots banner in North Wales.”
Nick Thomas of Natural Resources Wales said: “NRW’s purpose is to ensure that the environment and natural resources are maintained, enhanced and used. We recognise that we cannot do this alone and there is enormous value in developing projects and partnerships. Green Shoots is an excellent conservation project which has focused the attention of BASC members on what they can do for endangered wildlife and habitats across North Wales. Both ourselves and BASC are committed to natural resource management and will work together to improve the rich biodiversity and natural heritage of Wales.”
BASC volunteers will carry out work in a number of areas highlighted in a report commissioned by NRW where water voles are known to be present but which do not currently have adequate mink control. These are the River Dulas near Llandudno; around Beddgelert and inland from Aberystwyth. In South Wales the areas are around Pendine, Llanelli and Magor Marsh between Cardiff and Newport. The removal of mink is an essential element of water vole conservation, along with the provision of suitable habitat.
Red squirrels are known to be present in three areas in Wales; Anglesey, Clocaenog Forest and around the Tywi Forest in mid Wales. The project will support efforts in these areas by increasing the number of volunteers and the size of the areas where monitoring and control of grey squirrels takes place.
The control of Invasive Non-native Species (INNS) such as mink and grey squirrel is a priority for NRW.
The BASC press office can be contacted on 01244 573052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Red squirrel (c) North East Wildlife