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Tourism potential of red squirrels

A group of Denbighshire Tourism Ambassadors visited Clocaenog Forest this week to learn more about the work of Red Squirrels Trust Wales in helping to protect the native red squirrel population and explore the tourism growth potential.

Clocaenog Forest is one of three strongholds for red squirrels in Wales. The others being in mid-Wales and of course Anglesey. In the 1990’s red squirrels were widespread in Clocaenog Forest and were considered to be Wales’ largest population until the success on Anglesey. Strong media interest has grown the tourism potential of red squirrels on Anglesey.

Becky Clews-Roberts, Red Squirrel Ranger at Clocaenog Forest says, “Being Red Squirrel Awareness Week, it was great to meet the Ambassadors and talk to them about the work happening on their doorstep. I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them that a few red squirrels survive in Clocaenog Forest! Raising awareness of the issues surrounding their decline is key to my role in the Red Squirrels United (RSU) project, a 3-year funded HLF project, and many people have decided to volunteer to help in the conservation effort”.

“A large part of my role is to recruit, train and mentor volunteers. I’m fortunate that so many dedicated people want to help but we still need more! There’s also a lot of partnership work involved. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) manage Clocaenog Forest and they are undertaking a huge amount of work to help the red squirrels that still exist there. We have run several joint training days and jointly manage a suite of trail cameras that show us how the reds are doing.”

Tourism Ambassadors are a group of local tourism businesses who work together to share best practice and promote Denbighshire and the wider North East Wales area.

Roberta Roberts, Blue Badge Tour Guide and Ambassador says, “I was amazed to learn about the things they need to survive. These indigenous species need all the help they can get. As a tourist guide I will share my new knowledge with visitors whilst travelling on coach tours through North Wales. I think visitors will love to know about the success of conservation activities in the area.”

If anyone wishes to get involved, wants to know more or spots a red squirrel in the forest, please contact Becky at beckyredsquirrel@gmail.com or visit www.redsquirrels.info. If you are interested in becoming a Tourism Ambassador please contact tourism@denbighshire.gov.uk or read the blog on www.discoverdenbighshire.wales

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