What we do

Our focus is on monitoring red squirrels on the Isle of Wight without using intrusive methods. Red squirrels are sensitive and can die of stress when caught or handled.

Most research data comes from you, the general public – this is called ‘citizen science’ and is extremely valuable to our research, although of course trail cameras, hairtubes and woodland surveyors walking a transect is the ideal way to go about it! Volunteers?
Read published papers...

Red Squirrel Conservation Research Report 1991-2020

Wight Squirrel Project Manager, Helen Butler MBE, is in the process of publishing her report after 30 years researching red squirrels on the Isle of Wight – the first parts are available here as pdfs.

Part One • Part Two-Section One • Part Two-Section Two

Here is a pdf of our latest newsletter to bring you up to date.

WSP 2022 Calendar and Christmas Cards

The calendar theme this year is colour variation in Isle of Wight red squirrels.  Copies are limited, so if you want a calendar, don’t delay!

Our cute new range of greetings cards is now available!

A pack of four containing one of each design is £2.00 plus p&p. Volunteer Debbie is distributing calendars and cards from her home, so please ring her on 07741 489 549 to make arrangements. Debbie will collect the cash as well.

You can help us with our important monitoring project

Isle of Wight home owners with gardens, and land owners with woodland areas are being invited to participate in a significant project to map the habitat of the Isle of Wight’s iconic red squirrel.

It's easy for you to help (and give yourselves something fun to do at this tricky time). We have two printable survey forms for you to download, as well as an identification guide:

• Guide to identifying Red Squirrels • Garden Survey • Squirrel Identity Profile


The IOW Red Squirrel Hide is open again!

The hide is now open to paid up Friends of the Red Squirrel, but due to Covid restrictions, only one person at a time can enter the hide. To avoid turning up when the hide is already occupied there is now a booking system in place.

Please contact Helen on wightsquirrels@hotmail.com for the link to the booking form.

Leprosy testing

Leprosy was first diagnosed in red squirrels on the Isle of Wight in 2015. Visual signs to look for are unusual ear and skin lesions.

If you see an infected, or dead squirrel, please report it to us as soon as possible.

Ear samples were collected during routine post-mortem examinations on 92 squirrels found dead from all around the Island.

A paper is due to be published by Bournemouth University on island red squirrels. Wight Squirrel Project provided the DNA for the IOW from samples left from the leprosy studies done last year.

Once this is finished, further genetic research is planned just for the Isle of Wight reds, again using the DNA Helen brought back from the leprosy study.

The samples were collected from dead squirrels Helen had for post mortem examinations from across the whole Island. This way no squirrels were stressed by capture and handling. Plus it's much cheaper to collect tissue this way!


How you can help us

The easiest and most efficient way to offer financial help is to become a Friend of the Red Squirrel and set up a standing order with a donation.

We also need volunteers to help us with walks, events and delivering newsletters. Please contact us if you can help.


Feeding Squirrels

Feeding red squirrels helps their survival and provides hours of entertainment for you.

They need a variety of food, not just peanuts. Hazelnuts, filberts, pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, coconut and fruit will provide a varied and healthier diet. NEVER feed brazil nuts or fatballs!


Squirrel Spotting

Peak activity times are dawn and dusk all year. Squirrels react to sound and movement, so stand still and keep quiet.

Where gardens back onto woods, squirrels are often fed and can be spotted as they travel to and from the garden.

Read more about best places to see red squirrels on the Island...

Support the charity and buy  a cute Wight Squirrel Project T-shirts online from
For each t-shirt bought, Wight Squirrel Project will get £4.50 towards funding

T-shirts cost £19.00
buy one here...