FANS of rare red squirrels are being urged to upload details of any sightings to a new website.
Campaign chiefs at Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS) are calling on the public to help out and report the locations of any red or grey squirrels they have spotted whilst out and about.
The site, www.scottishsquirrels.org.uk, also has video, blogs and information about red squirrels.
It features a map showing where the elusive animals have been seen.
The site has been relaunched and improvements mean GPS data can be logged when people use mobile devices to upload sightings.
Mel Tonkin, project manager for SSRS, said: “ I would urge people to continue to report squirrels in each new area they encounter each year. The update is very user-friendly and means sightings can be recorded as soon as someone spots a red or grey squirrel.
“There are always gaps in our records so to create the most accurate picture of squirrel populations we need many more.
She added: “Since the start of our online recording page in 2010, SSRS has received around 10,000 reports of red and grey squirrels.
“These are vital in enabling the project to monitor changes in squirrel distributions over a much wider area than we can cover ourselves.”
Fans of the scheme include the owner of a Highland cafe set up with a “squirrel cam” – CCTV designed to capture the elusive creatures in action.
Jan Hargreaves is the owner of a local shop and cafe at beauty spot Foyers Falls overlooking Loch Ness.
Red squirrels are recorded on CCTV cameras on trees outside and the footage is shown on a screen inside the cafe.
She said: “People love looking at them – children especially. They’ll go “ooh, look, a squirrel.” I’ll keep half an eye out too.
“I think reporting sightings is a very good idea. It’s the only way that they are going to know how many squirrels there are.”
Since 1952, 95% of red squirrels in England and Wales have been wiped out. Today, 75% of the UK’s remaining population is found in Scotland.
Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is a partnership project between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates, and the Red Squirrel Survival Trust.