A red squirrel at Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens has given birth to her 45th kitten making her one of the Conservation Trust’s biggest success stories.
The supermum, affectionately named Tortoiseshell, together with partner Tweedledum have proved to be one of the Reserve’s most significant red squirrel pairings, producing 45 kittens since 2008, seven of which in 2012 alone.
The pair form one of two active breeding pairs at Pensthorpe and are looked after as part of the East Anglian Red Squirrel Group, of which the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust is a member.
Chrissie Kelley, Head of Species Management for the Trust and Secretary for the East Anglian Red Squirrel group comments: “We’re so proud of Tortoiseshell, she really is ‘supermum’ of the red squirrel world and gives us tremendous hope for the future of the species.
“Red squirrels only survive in a handful of locations in the UK, which is why we’re so fortunate to have successful breeding pairs here at Pensthorpe. Tortoiseshell has advanced the work of the Red Squirrel Group dramatically. Going forward our aim is to build upon her fantastic track-record and highlight this enigmatic species by capturing the imagination of our visitors and educating them on their plight.”
The East Anglian Red Squirrel Group aims to inform people about the threat to red squirrels and save the beautiful species from extinction.
The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust’s breeding facility provides the perfect environment to encourage red squirrels to breed and look after their young safely before they are either moved on to other members of the East Anglian Red Squirrel group who need young animals or are sent off to be released as part of a coordinated effort to reinforce declining local populations around the country.
Visit www.pensthorpe.com or call 01328 851465 for more information and opening times.