People across the Stewartry are being asked to take note of how many squirrels they see.
The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey kicks off on Monday to coincide with National Red Squirrel Week which will include a live video stream of the squirrel feeders at Threave Gardens and Estate near Castle Douglas.
And Saving Scotland’s red squirrels say the survey is needed more than ever due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen the last two spring surveys cancelled.
Project manager Dr Mel Tonkin said: “Without the spring survey data, we need the help of Scotland’s squirrel spotters more than ever before. If the public can help us collect as many squirrel sightings as last year, the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey will give us another way to compare distribution data with the same period as in previous years.
“Much of our other volunteering work was also suspended during the pandemic so we are very keen to know more about how the situation has changed in the past year. Reporting a squirrel sighting is a simple thing anyone can do to help.”
Last year more than 3,000 squirrel sightings were recorded in one week, helping create a picture of exactly where the country’s squirrel population can be found.
The project’s communications and engagement officer Gill Hatcher said: “We are asking everyone in Scotland to go out and enjoy the outdoors during Red Squirrel Week, look out for both red and grey squirrels and add your sightings to our online map at scottishsquirrels.org.uk.”
The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey runs from September 20 to 26 and there will be online and outdoor events across the country with the Threave feeders being streamed online on Wednesday.
More information can be found at http://scottishsquirrels.org.uk/great-scottish-squirrel-survey.