A baby red squirrel is making a good recovery at a wildlife sanctuary after being found cold and distressed at a North East beauty spot.
An animal welfare officer from Northumberland County Council was on a routine patrol in n Wooler Common, Northumberland, when she was called over by a forestry worker who had spotted the small squirrel.
The officer observed it for a while on the public path and it was clearly in distress, running round and round in circles, cold and drenched right through from being in a small nearby stream.
The unfortunate young male squirrel is believed to have fallen from its drey high up in a tree, appearing very disorientated.
“He had received a big bump. It was very disorientated and while we don’t like to interfere with wildlife, this little squirrel clearly needed help,” the officer said.
He was taken to Blyth Wildlife Sanctuary, where it is now safe, warm and tucking into milk substitute.
The area is a haven for red squirrels and local volunteers support the squirrel population by erecting and filling feeders.
John Anderson, who manages Blyth Wildlife Sanctuary, said: “The squirrel is male, around five to six weeks old, just bigger than the size of my hand and around weaning age.
“We are feeding him regularly with substitute milk but as he will be released back into the wild when he his is strong enough, we are being very careful to ensure minimal handling and it is the same person that feeds him each day, to prevent familiarity with humans.”
The squirrel may be moved to another centre to form social bonds with other rescued juveniles of the same age, otherwise he will be released back into the wild in July or August when young squirrels naturally disperse and there is plenty of food around.
John added: “We use a soft release approach, so instead of just releasing the squirrel straight back into the wild, we form an enclosure in the woods so he can get used to the sights, sounds and smells and have access to food before he is fully released. We then keep the enclosure and food in place for a time afterwards so he can return to it if he wishes. “