Red Squirrel News.
Many people in mid Wales, and within the Red Squirrel Focal Site in particular, have reported that they have not seen many, or even any, grey squirrels this year.  A phenomenon which I think, at least partially, can be attributed to our trapping efforts, nearly 1,170 taken out in the last 12 months by Trap Loan Scheme members. 
Although grey squirrel numbers still appear to be high in other  regions  of  Britain, theories  have  been put forward
which may also partially account for the apparent drop in the local grey squirrel population, such as persistent wet weather over the winter months causing cached food supplies to decay.  Grey squirrels depend much more on stored food than reds, so, if their food stores are rotten this could be one factor affecting their decline. 

As far as the red squirrel goes, this is all to the good, of course!  Unfortunately, when numbers are low, it takes much more time to catch any grey squirrels do turn up
However, it’s really important for the well-being of the red squirrels  to eradicate any remaining greys, so Trap Loan Scheme members, if you do spot any, please set your traps!  In this Spring & Summer edition of Red Squirrel News, learn about MWRSP efforts to improve habitat management for red squirrels in the core of the Mid Wales Focal Site.  Just what impact are those pine martens having on our squirrels? Get the latest on the pine marten restoration project.  Sit back and view video clips of 'Llanddewi' the red squirrel, and take a look at the latest colour photo of the red squirrel visiting our camera trap above Llanfair Clydogau.  Find out how Chris Harris is getting close to wildlife in his local woods and read his theories about the impact of grey   squirrels and   grey   squirrel control on woodland biodiversity.  Robert Piller puts forward his ideas for re-wilding the Tywi Forest.  Plus, two opportunities for you to meet some of the Project Team, come along to one of our talks and drop-in sessions in May.  
Happy reading!
Newyddion y Wiwer Goch
Dywedodd llawer o bobl yng nghanolbarth Cymru, ac o fewn y Prif Barth Gwarchod Gwiwerod Coch yn enwedig, na welwyd llawer o wiwerod llwyd eleni.  Mae hyn yn rhyfeddol ac, yn fy marn i, gallwn ei briodoli i’n hymdrechion trapio; cafodd dros 1,770 o wiwerod llwyd eu difa yn y deuddeng mis diwethaf gan aelodau’r Cynllun Benthyca Trapiau. 

Mae niferoedd y wiwer lwyd yn dal i ymddangos yn uchel mewn rhanbarthau eraill o Brydain, a chynigiwyd amryw o ddamcaniaethau ynghylch y gostyngiad yn niferoedd y wiwer lwyd leol, megis yr holl dywydd gwlyb a gafwyd drwy gydol y gaeaf yn achosi ‘r bwyd a gladdwyd i bydru.  Mae gwiwerod llwyd yn dibynnu llawer mwy na gwiwerod coch ar fwyd wedi'i storio; felly, os yw eu cyflenwadau wedi pydru gallai hyn fod yn un rheswm am eu dirywiad.

I’r wiwer goch, wrth gwrs, mae hyn yn newyddion da!  Yn anffodus, pan fo niferoedd yn isel, mae'n cymryd llawer mwy o amser i ddal unrhyw wiwerod llwyd.  Fodd bynnag, mae'n wirioneddol bwysig, er lles y gwiwerod coch, i ddifa unrhyw lwydion sydd ar ôl.  Felly,  os gwelwch rai, cofiwch osod eich trapiau! 

Yn y rhifyn Gwanwyn a Haf hwn o Newyddion Gwiwerod Coch, cewch wybod am ymdrechion Prosiect Gwiwerod Coch Canolbarth Cymru i wella’r modd y mae cynefinoedd yng nghanol ardal y prosiect yn cael eu gwella.  Pa effaith yn union y mae’r bele yn ei gael ar ein gwiwerod? Fe gewch y diweddaraf am y prosiect i adfer y bele.  Ymlaciwch a gwyliwch glipiau fideo o 'Llanddewi' y wiwer goch, ac edrychwch ar y llun lliw diweddaraf o’r wiwer goch yn ymweld â'n trap camera uwchben Llanfair Clydogau.  Cewch wybod sut mae Chris Harris yn closio at fywyd gwyllt yn ei goedwigoedd lleol a darllen ei ddamcaniaethau am effaith gwiwerod llwyd a rheoli'r wiwer lwyd ar fioamrywiaeth coetiroedd.  Ac mae Robert Piller yn cyflwyno ei syniadau am wneud Coedwig Tywi yn wyllt unwaith eto.  Hefyd, mae dau gyfle i chi gwrdd â rhai o aelodau'r Tîm Prosiect. Dewch i un o'n sgyrsiau a sesiynau galw-heibio ym mis Mai.  
Mwynhewch y darllen!
Habitat Management in the
Red Squirrel Focal Site
Red squirrels only exist in mid Wales due to the existence of  non-native coniferous forest plantations.

On first glance, this statement may appear contradictory; native red squirrels have managed pretty well in Britain for over ten thousand years, happily inhabiting native broadleaved woodlands since the end of the last ice age, so why does their survival require management interventions? 

At the start of the nineteenth century, despite fluctuations in populations caused by habitat loss and persecution, red squirrels thrived in this island. (1)  Once the grey squirrel came into the equation in the late nineteenth century, the red was in retreat.   Grey squirrels have now replaced red squirrel populations throughout much of their former range, outnumbering red squirrels by more than 21 - 1 in Britain, in Wales the figures are thought to be nearer 320 - 1.
 
Greys have a competitive advantage over red squirrels in broadleaved woodland, partly due to an ability to digest acorns better than our native species.  Red squirrels are unable to utilise broadleaved habitats as efficiently as grey squirrels and therefore lose out; added to this is the impact of squirrelpox virus on red squirrels. It is thought that when grey squirrels arrive in woodland populated by red squirrels, the two species can co-exist for about 20 years before red squirrels disappear (2).
 
On the other hand, coniferous plantations, as we have in mid Wales, dominated by small-seeded species such as Sitka spruce, do not provide a good food supply for any squirrel.  None-the-less, the red squirrel, with a smaller size and lower calorific requirement, can cling on in these plantations, relying on small patches of larger-seeded conifers, such as lodgepole pine and Norway spruce.   A diversity of coning tree species is beneficial to red squirrels, providing squirrels with alternative crops in poor seeding years (3).

Reds, which are hesitant to cross open ground, also benefit from the thick canopy cover provided by coniferous plantations.  Although grey squirrels will 'invade' coniferous woodland periodically, generally at times of high population and/or low food availability in the wider environment, the relative absence of grey squirrels in these habitats relieves the pressure on red squirrels, allowing reds to survive, albeit at a low population density, in non-native conifer plantations.
Unfortunately, red squirrels in mid Wales are now at risk from unsympathetic forest management.  Much of the Tywi forest and surrounding plantations was planted 30 -40 years ago and is now ready for harvesting.  It is imperative that the felling of these plantations is carried out in a way  which  limits  the risk to the
vulnerable red squirrel.  The report, 'Forest Management Requirements for Red Squirrels in Mid Wales’ (Dr S.Cartmel and H. Denman) was published in 2012.  The report maps woodland habitat in the mid Wales red squirrel focal site, grades the habitat according  to  its suitability  for  red
squirrel conservation.  The Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership (MWRSP) is working closely with forest managers,such as Tilhill, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), to come up with innovative solutions to reduce the impact of clearfelling on red squirrels.

The general advice is to keep key areas of red squirrel habitat in long term retention, to retain sufficient canopy cover to connect these key areas and to minimise the size of clearfells and the rate of clearfelling.   Restocking decisions will also impact on red squirrels; a diversity of coniferous species is required to maintain food supplies, but too many large-seeded conifers would run the risk of attracting grey squirrels.  We advise forest managers to include 10% – 15% large-seeded conifers, and when restocking with broadleaves, to select small seeded species such as rowan, birch and alder.  
 
Report co-author, Huw Denman remarked: "Since 2012, much clearfelling has occurred and the forests of mid Wales have become much more fragmented in nature, causing isolation of stands of trees suitable for red squirrels.  The highly vulnerable state of red squirrel habitat means that we now face a critical need to protect the remaining Key Areas, and retain arboreal connectivity between these Key Areas.  It is my view that the current intensity of clearfelling in many woodlands in the Tywi Forest is highly likely to cause the extinction of red squirrels in these habitat networks.  To prevent the red squirrels in mid Wales becoming extinct, future plans will have to mitigate this risk more carefully.”

Throughout Britain, the red squirrel remains under threat from potential grey squirrel incursion and disease transmission and it is predicted that, without specific habitat management, numbers will continue to decline.  As Huw commented: “We need to ensure that we are all working together for the benefit of our red squirrels and that we collectively help to prevent the extinction of this native species in mid Wales.”  In collaboration with forest managers, The MWRSP is aiming to produce a 10 year red squirrel forest management plan for the mid Wales forests within the focal site.  We’ll keep you posted on progress.
  1. Gurnell, J. (1991). Grey squirrel. The Handbook of British Mammals.
  2. Gurnell, J., Wauters, L.A., Lurz, P.W.W. and Tosi, G. (2004) Alien species and interspecific competition: effects of introduced eastern grey squirrels on red squirrel population dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology 73: 26-35.
  3. Pepper, H. and Patterson, G. (1998). Red squirrel conservation. Forestry Commission Practice Note 5. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.
Rheoli’r Cynefin ym Mhrif Barth Gwarchod y Wiwer Goch
Mae gwiwerod coch ond yn bodoli yn y canolbarth oherwydd bodolaeth planhigfeydd coedwig gonifferaidd anfrodorol.
 
Ar yr olwg gyntaf, gall y datganiad hwn ymddangos yn anghyson; mae gwiwerod coch brodorol wedi ymdopi’n weddol dda ym Mhrydain am dros ddeng mil o flynyddoedd, yn byw yn hapus mewn coetiroedd llydanddail brodorol ers diwedd Oes yr Iâ ddiwethaf; felly pam mae angen cymryd camau rheoli nawr? 

Ar ddechrau’r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg, er gwaethaf amrywiadau yn eu niferoedd oherwydd colli cynefin ac erledigaeth, roedd gwiwerod coch yn ffynnu yng ngwledydd Prydain. (1)  Unwaith y cyrhaeddodd y wiwer lwyd ddiwedd y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg, dechreuodd y goch gilio.   Mae gwiwerod llwyd bellach wedi disodli poblogaethau'r wiwer goch i raddau helaeth.  Mae yna 21 gwaith yn fwy o wiwerod llwyd na gwiwerod coch m Mhrydain, a yng Nghymru credir bod cymaint â 320 o wiwerod llwyd am bob gwiwer goch.

Mae gan y llwydion fantais dros y cochion mewn coetir collddail, yn rhannol am eu bod yn gallu treulio mes yn well na’n rhywogaeth frodorol.  Ni all gwiwerod coch ddefnyddio'r cynefinoedd collddail mor effeithlon â gwiwerod llwyd, ac felly maen nhw dan anfantais; yn ychwanegol at hyn mae effaith firws brech y gwiwerod ar y cochion. Pan fo gwiwerod llwyd yn cyrraedd coetir lle mae gwiwerod coch yn byw, credir y gall y ddwy rywogaeth gyd-fodoli am tua 20 mlynedd cyn i’r wiwer goch ddiflannu. (2).
 
Ar y llaw arall, dydy planhigfeydd conifferaidd, fel sydd gennym yn y Canolbarth, lle ceir rhywogaethau â hadau bach fel sbriws Sitca yn bennaf, ddim  yn gyflenwad bwyd da i unrhyw wiwer.  Serch hynny, gall y wiwer goch, sy’n llai o faint ac sydd angen llai o galorïau, oroesi yn y planhigfeydd hyn, gan ddibynnu ar ychydig o goed conwydd â hadau mawr, fel pinwydd camfrig a sbriws Norwy.   Mae amrywiaeth o rywogaethau coed â chonau yn fuddiol i wiwerod coch, am eu bod yn darparu cnydau amgen mewn blynyddoedd pan fo hadau’n brin (3).  

Mae’r cochion, sydd yn gyndyn i groesi tir agored, yn elwa hefyd ar y canopi trwchus mewn planhigfeydd conifferaidd.  Er y bydd gwiwerod llwyd yn heidio i mewn i goetir conifferaidd o bryd i'w gilydd – fel arfer pan fo’u poblogaeth yn uchel a/neu pan fo bwyd yn brin yn y gaeaf – mae absenoldeb cymharol y gwiwerod coch yn y cynefinoedd hyn yn caniatáu i’r cochion oroesi, er mewn niferoedd bychain, mewn coetiroedd coed conwydd anfrodorol. 
Yn anffodus, mae gwiwerod coch yng nghanolbarth Cymru mewn perygl nawr oherwydd rheolaeth anghydnaws ar goedwigoedd.  Mae llawer o goedwig Tywi a phlanhigfeydd cyfagos, a blannwyd 30-40 mlynedd yn ôl, yn awr yn barod  i’w cynaeafu. Mae'n hanfodol bod y coed yn cael eu cwympo mewn ffordd sy'n cyfyngu ar y risg i'r wiwer   
goch. Mae'r adroddiad, Forest Management Requirements for Red Squirrels in Mid Wales  (Dr S. Cartmel a H. Denman), a gyhoeddwyd yn 2012, yn mapio cynefinoedd coetir yn y Prif Barth Gwarchod Gwiwerod Coch yn y Canolbarth. Mae hefyd yn graddio cynefin yn ôl ei addasrwydd i wiwerod
coch, ac yn cynnig argymhellion ar gyfer rheoli er budd cadwraeth y wiwer goch.  

Mae Partneriaeth Gwiwerod Coch Canolbarth Cymru (MWRSP) yn gweithio'n agos â rheolwyr coedwigoedd, megis Tilhill ac Adnoddau Naturiol Cymru, i ddod o hyd i atebion arloesol i leihau effaith llwyr gwympo ar wiwerod coch. Y cyngor cyffredinol yw y dylid cadw darnau allweddol o gynefin y wiwer goch dros dymor hir, er mwyn cadw digon o orchudd canopi i gysylltu’r darnau cynefin hyn, lleihau maint y darnau sy’n cael eu llwyr gwympo  a gwneud llai o lwyr gwympo.   Bydd penderfyniadau ynglŷn ag ailblannu hefyd yn cael effaith ar wiwerod coch; mae  angen amrywiaeth o rywogaethau conifferaidd i gynnal cyflenwadau bwyd, ond gallai gormod o goed conwydd â hadau mawr ddenu gwiwerod llwyd.  Rydym yn cynghori rheolwyr coedwig i gynnwys 10%-15% o gonwydd â hadau mawr, ac wrth ailblannu â choed collddail, i ddewis rhywogaethau â hadau bach megis criafol, bedw a gwern.
 
Dywedodd cyd-awdur yr adroddiad, Huw Denman: “Ers 2012, mae llawer o lwyr gwympo wedi digwydd ac mae coedwigoedd canolbarth Cymru wedi dod yn llawer mwy tameidiog o ran eu natur, gan ynysu clystyrau o goed sy'n addas ar gyfer gwiwerod coch.  Am fod cynefin y wiwer goch mewn cyflwr bregus dros ben, mae’n gwbl hanfodol bellach ein bod yn gwarchod yr Ardaloedd Allweddol sydd ar ôl, a gofalu bod coed ar gael i wiwerod coch symud rhwng yr ardaloedd hyn.  Yn fy marn i, mae’r holl lwyr gwympo sy’n digwydd mewn llawer o goetiroedd Coedwig Tywi ar hyn o bryd yn debygol iawn o achosi diflaniad y gwiwerod coch yn y mannau hyn.  Er mwyn atal y gwiwerod coch yng nghanolbarth Cymru rhag mynd i ddifancoll, bydd rhaid i gynlluniau yn y dyfodol liniaru'r risg hon yn fwy gofalus.”

Ledled Prydain, mae’r wiwer goch yn dal i fod o dan fygythiad oherwydd y wiwer lwyd a chlefydau, a rhagwelir y bydd y niferoedd  yn dal i ostwng oni chymerir camau penodol i reoli ei chynefin.   Fel y dywedodd Huw: “Rhaid i ni wneud yn siŵr fod pawb ohonom yn gweithio gyda'n gilydd er budd ein gwiwerod coch a’n bod gyda'n gilydd yn helpu i atal diflaniad y rhywogaeth frodorol  hon yng nghanolbarth Cymru.  Ar y cyd â rheolwyr coedwigoedd, mae Prosiect Gwiwerod Coch Canolbarth Cymru yn bwriadu llunio cynllun rheoli coedwigoedd dros gyfnod o ddeng mlynedd ar gyfer y wiwer yng nghoedwigoedd canolbarth Cymru sydd y tu mewn i’r prif barth gwarchod.  Cewch wybod am unrhyw ddatblygiadau.
  1. Gurnell, J. (1991). Grey squirrel. The Handbook of British Mammals.
  2. Gurnell, J., Wauters, L.A., Lurz, P.W.W. and Tosi, G. (2004) Alien species and interspecific competition: effects of introduced eastern grey squirrels on red squirrel population dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology 73: 26-35.
  3. Pepper, H. and Patterson, G. (1998). Red squirrel conservation. Forestry Commission Practice Note 5. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.
Pine Marten Update
As summer approaches, the Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) continue to track the pine martens released in Wales last autumn (photo: Nick Upton). The animals have established territories and it is likely some are now rearing kits.
Cat McNicol, PhD student from Exeter University, has completed her first season of field work.   She  has  been
 
tracking collared grey squirrels throughout the pine marten release period and has just begun to analyse  the data she has collected. Cat and the VWT aim to have some preliminary results to share in the next newsletter.  It is hoped that there will be some distinguishable behavioural or distributional grey squirrel response to the pine marten presence. Some pine marten scats appear to contain grey
squirrel hair; the VWT are inclined to think there has been some grey squirrel predation as squirrel remains were found in some abandoned marten dens!

Some of the martens have moved quite a distance from their release sites and have settled in the Tywi forest, a known core red squirrel area for the MWRSP. Having caught both species on the same camera trap (see image, above), the range overlap of these two species will be interesting and the VWT will keep us updated on the pine marten ranging movements.

The next release session is fast approaching, with 20 more pine martens due to arrive in Wales in the early autumn. Cat and the VWT hope that this second release period is as successful as the last and we will be following their progress with great interest.
If you think that you might have seen a pine marten recently, please contact the Vincent Wildlife Trust with a date of your sighting and location on 01531 636441 or report your sighting on their website:
For further information: visit the VWT’s websiteor email Cat McNicol cmm226@exeter.ac.uk
The European Squirrel Initiative (ESI), which campaigns to reduce grey squirrel populations, is organising a forum in June to discuss the pros and cons of reintroduction of the pine marten in areas where it has been lost.   So, with the evidence mounting to suggest that pine martens do reduce grey squirrel population, why the need for a debate?  Well the ESI explained: “while it seems that grey squirrels, which are heavier and spend more time on the ground than the nimble red squirrel, are relatively easy prey for the fast-running marten, it is not at all clear what effects pine martens have on the wider ecosystem.  Do they decimate populations of frogs and song birds while they eat grey squirrels?  … what happens to red squirrels once all the greys are gone? The answer is that, at the moment, we simply don’t know.” 
Squirrel – issue 32, p. 8.
Y Diweddaraf am y Bele
Wrth i’r haf ddynesu, mae Ymddiriedolaeth Bywyd Gwyllt Vincent (VWT) yn parhau i ddilyn hynt y belaod a gafodd eu rhyddhau yng Nghymru yr hydref diwethaf. (Llun: Bele y tynnwyd ei lun gan gamera llwybr).  Mae'r anifeiliaid wedi sefydlu tiriogaethau ac mae'n debygol fod rhai bellach yn magu epil.
Mae Cat McNicol, myfyriwr PhD o Brifysgol Caerwysg, wedi cwblhau ei thymor cyntaf o waith maes. Bu’n olrhain gwiwerod llwyd â choleri drwy gydol y cyfnod pan ryddhawyd
belaod ac mae newydd ddechrau dadansoddi'r data a gasglwyd ganddi. Mae a’r Ymddiriedolaeth yn anelu at gael rhai canlyniadau rhagarweiniol i’w rhannu yn y cylchlythyr nesaf.  Y gobaith yw y bydd presenoldeb y bele yn golygu y bydd y wiwer lwyd yn ymddwyn yn wahanol ac yn cilio. Ymddengys fod tail rhai belaod yn cynnwys blew gwiwerod llwyd; mae Ymddiriedolaeth Natur Vincent yn

tueddu i feddwl fod rhai gwiwerod llwyd wedi cael eu difa gan y belaod oherwydd cafwyd hyd i olion gwiwerod mewn rhai ffeuau a ddefnyddiwyd gan felaod!

Mae rhai o'r belaod wedi symud cryn bellter o’r mannau lle cawson nhw eu rhyddhau ac maen nhw wedi ymgartrefu yng Nghoedwig Tywi, sy’n ardal graidd i’r wiwer goch. Ar ôl dal y ddwy rywogaeth yn yr un trap camera, bydd canfod ystod gorgyffwrdd y ddwy rywogaeth yn ddiddorol a bydd Ymddiriedolaeth Natur Vincent yn ein bwydo â’r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am symudiadau’r belaod.

Mae ugain o felaod eraill i fod i gael eu rhyddhau yng Nghymru ddechrau’r hydref. Mae Cat a’r Ymddiriedolaeth yn gobeithio y bydd yr ail cyfnod rhyddhau mor llwyddiannus â'r cyntaf, a byddwn yn dilyn eu hynt â diddordeb mawr.
Os ydych chi'n meddwl eich bod wedi gweld bele yn ddiweddar, cysylltwch ag Ymddiriedolaeth Bywyd Gwyllt Vincent gyda’r dyddiad a lleoliad ar 01531 636441 neu rhowch y manylion ar eu gwefan.
I gael rhagor o wybodaeth:  ewch i wefan Ymddiriedolaeth Bywyd Gwyllt Vincent neu ebostiwch Cat McNicol cmm226@exeter.ac.uk
Mae’r Fenter Wiwerod Ewropeaidd (ESI), sy'n ymgyrchu i leihau niferoedd y wiwer lwyd, yn trefnu fforwm ym mis Mehefin i drafod y manteision a'r anfanteision o ailgyflwyno'r bele mewn ardaloedd lle cafodd ei golli.   Felly, gyda'r dystiolaeth gynyddol i awgrymu bod belaod yn lleihau niferoedd y gwiwerod llwyd, pam mae angen trafodaeth?  Mae’r Fenter Wiwerod Ewropeaidd yn cynnig esboniad: “Er mae'n ymddangos bod gwiwerod llwyd, sy'n drymach ac yn treulio mwy o amser ar y ddaear na'r wiwer goch sionc, yn ysglyfaeth gymharol hawdd i'r bele, sy’n gallu rhedeg yn gyflym, nid yw'n glir o gwbl beth yw effaith y bele ar yr ecosystem yn gyffredinol.  A yw belaod yn difa poblogaethau o frogaod ac adar bach yn ogystal â bwyta gwiwerod llwyd?  … beth sy'n digwydd i wiwerod coch pan fo'r holl wiwerod llwyd wedi mynd? Yr ateb yw na wyddom ni ddim ar hyn o bryd.” 
Squirrel – Rhifyn 32, tud. 8.
BASC Course Helps Control Grey Squirrels 
Audrey Watson, Green Shoots Officer for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) delivered 2 courses in grey squirrel control at a site near Rhandirmwyn over the winter months. The course introduces the topic with a brief on squirrel ecology, the interaction between red and grey squirrels and why grey squirrel control is needed.  Although the course covers cranial dispatch of
grey squirrels, the focus is on shooting, including a Firearms Awareness sectionlooking at the law surrounding use of air weapons and how to use air weapons to dispatch. The afternoon session is out in the field, with demonstrations of techniques. Audrey  is  pictured  here  giving  a
demonstration on how to get the live captured animal into a sack.  BASC will arrange further courses in the Red Squirrel Focal Site if there is a demand. If you are interested in attending a BASC course, email Audrey on Audrey.Watson@basc.org.uk or 07531 141497

Don't forget, to help in the effort to conserve red squirrels in mid Wales,  BASC also operate a Trap Loan Scheme in the area surrounding the Focal Site in mid Wales. Contact Audrey for more details.  A map of the Focal Site can be found on the project website at the bottom of the home page.
Cwrs BASC yn Helpu i Reoli Gwiwerod Llwyd
Bu Audrey Watson, Swyddog Blagur Gwyrdd y Gymdeithas Brydeinig Saethu a Chadwraeth (BASC) yn cyflwyno dau gwrs ar reoli gwiwerod llwyd ar safle ger Rhandir-mwyn dros fisoedd y gaeaf. Roedd y cyrsiau’n cyflwyno’r pwnc wrth esbonio ecoleg gwiwerod, y rhyngweithio rhwng gwiwerod coch a llwyd a pham mae angen rheoli'r wiwer lwyd.  Er bod y cyrsiau’n ymdrin â lladd gwiwerod llwyd ag ergyd i asgwrn y pen, maen nhw’n canolbwyntio ar saethu.  Mae yna adran Ymwybyddiaeth o Ddrylliau Tân sy’n edrych ar y gyfraith sy'n ymwneud â'r defnydd o arfau aer a sut i ddefnyddio’r arfau hyn i ladd gwiwerod llwyd. Mae’r sesiwn prynhawn allan yn y maes, er mwyn dangos gwahanol dechnegau. Yn y llun gwelir Audrey yn dangos sut i gael anifail a ddaliwyd yn fyw i mewn i sach.

Bydd BASC yn trefnu cyrsiau pellach yn y Prif Barth Gwarchod Gwiwerod Coch os oes digon o alw. Os oes gennych ddiddordeb mewn mynychu cwrs BASC, ebostiwch Audrey ar Audrey.Watson@basc.org.uk neu ffoniwch hi ar 07531 141497.

Cofiwch helpu yn yr ymdrech i ddiogelu gwiwerod coch yng nghanolbarth Cymru.  Mae BASC hefyd yn gweithredu Cynllun Benthyca Trapiau yn yr ardal o amgylch safle’r Prif Barth Gwarchod yn y Canolbarth. Cysylltwch ag Audrey i gael rhagor o fanylion.  Mae map o'r Prif Barth Gwarchod ar wefan y prosiect ar waelod y dudalen gartref.
Tracking the Red Trail in Mid Wales
The trail camera that's been in place for some time now near Llanddewi Brefi has been replaced by a new camera with a video function.  This means that we are able to see the red squirrel visiting this camera trap 'in action'.  Video clips give us a an insight into the behaviour of this individual.  
We are able to see how the squirrel approaches the feeder, as well as some interesting and sometimes amusing incidents.  Take a look at the project's Facebook page for more clips.  

The camera trap above Llanfair Clydogau has been getting regular visits from one or more red squirrels since January.  Due to low light conditions, up until the end of March, the photos from this trail camera were all  in  black  and  white.    Still good
evidence of red squirrel presence, but not quite so cute; here’s the red squirrel in its full glory!

The trail camera sited near Rhandirmwyn has not yet had any red squirrel visitors. To raise the chances of seeing a red on camera, volunteer and Local Coordinator, Matthew Hand, has moved this camera near to an area of lodgepole pine, a known feeding source for red squirrels.  

Another camera trap is to be sited to the north of the red squirrel focal site in mid Wales, near to Pontrhydfendigaid and will be monitored by volunteer and Local Coordinator, Chris Harris.  Chris is hoping that local efforts to trap for greys, as well as the possible influence of pine martens in reducing the grey squirrel population in the area, will boost his chances of getting a red squirrel on camera.  
Ar Drywydd y Wiwer Goch yng Nghanolbarth Cymru
Cafodd y camera llwybr a fu ar waith ers tro ger Llanddewibrefi ei ddisodli gan gamera fideo newydd.  Mae hyn yn golygu y gallwn weld y wiwer goch ar waith wrth iddi ymweld â'r trap camera hwn.  Mae clipiau fideo yn rhoi gwell syniad i ni o’r modd y mae gwiwerod coch yn ymddwyn. 
Gallwn weld sut mae'r wiwer yn mynd at y bwydwr, sut mae'n cymryd hadau a chnau o'r bwydwr, yn ogystal â rhai digwyddiadau diddorol a doniol.  Cymerwch olwg ar dudalen Facebook y prosiect i weld rhagor o glipiau.

Mae'r trap camera uwchben Llanfair Clydogau yn cael ymweliadau rheolaidd gan un neu fwy o wiwerod coch ers mis
Ionawr.  Oherwydd golau gwael, tan ddiwedd mis Mawrth, roedd yr holl luniau o’r camera llwybr hwn mewn du a gwyn.  Serch hynny, cafwyd tystiolaeth dda o bresenoldeb gwiwerod coch.  Dyma wiwer goch yn ei holl ogoniant.

Dydy’r camera llwybr ger Rhandir-mwyn ddim wedi cael unrhyw ymweliadau gan wiwerod coch eto. Er mwyn cael gwell siawns o weld gwiwer goch ar gamera, mae un o’r gwirfoddolwyr lleol, Matthew Hand, wedi symud y camera hwn yn nes at binwydd camfrig, sy’n ffynhonnell fwyd boblogaidd i wiwerod coch.  

Bwriedir gosod trap camera arall i’r gogledd i’r prif barth gwarchod yng Nghoedwig Tywi, ger Pontrhydfendigaid, a chaiff ei fonitro gan y cydgysylltydd lleol, Chris Harris.  Mae Chris yn gobeithio y bydd ymdrechion lleol i drapio gwiwerod llwyd, yn ogystal â dylanwad posibl y belaod o ran lleihau niferoedd y gwiwerod llwyd yn yr ardal, yn gwella’r siawns o weld gwiwer goch ar gamera.  
Local Action
Biodiversity in Coed Y Bont
Volunteer and Local Coordinator, Chris Harris, offers his thoughts on grey squirrel control in relation to woodland biodiversity at Coed Y Bont. 
The scientific name for the Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris means ‘common’ squirrel, and this reflects their former widespread distribution. (Photo: Margaret Holland). In Britain, the range of the red squirrel was constrained in the 17th and 18th centuries due to habitat fragmentation and loss of woodland. However, a more recent severe decline in red squirrel numbers has largely been linked to the introduction of the grey
squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. (Photo: Elliott Neep)   The grey squirrel was introduced into England in 1876 from North East America and has spread rapidly, gradually displacing the native red squirrel in most of England and Wales, and in central and south-east Scotland. Grey squirrels are extremely destructive in woodlands, stripping bark from the main stem and branches of trees, taking birds eggs and young birds, also devastating food stocks, such as acorns and hazelnuts, for other mammals. Grey squirrels can digest and eat unripe nuts, so they don’t always need to wait for them to
ripen. Ever since the 1960’s and 1970’s the reduction in the number of red squirrels and the increase in grey squirrel numbers in Wales is difficult to get your head around. Recently there has been some evidence of some grey squirrels (average weight 600g) being slightly larger than normal; they can be up to twice the size/weight of Red Squirrels (300g). Grey squirrels can have 2-3 litters a year of 3-7 kittens (1).

I have had a love and passion for wildlife from an early age. I would say my mother, (bless her heart), got me interested in wildlife, sometimes we went out together at 4.00 a.m. for the dawn chorus. I was a member of the local Natural History Society, once going on a field trip to the wetland reserve Slimbridge. I regularly went for cycle rides on my own bird watching and read bird books off by heart cover to cover. When we went on holiday I would go for walks on my own, again watching out for wildlife.  I moved to Wales in 2007 with my wife Ania and 2 boys Alex and Owen and I wanted to get involved with my community. I have managed to do this in various ways. In the autumn of 2007 I joined the Ger Y Gors forum of Community First and then from there got involved in various community projects. In 2008 I went to the first meeting of Pontrhydfendigaid Community Woodland Association and became part of the committee in 2012, the Treasurer in 2013 and Trustee in 2015.

I have been on various mammal courses, have worked for the R.S.P.B. and been involved in surveying of the Red Squirrel in 2012 and 2014.  In the autumn of 2014 I contacted Becky and in November became the volunteer coordinator within the Red Squirrel Project for the Bont area. The obvious area for me to concentrate on was Coed Y Bont, but there were a few people on the committee, who had questions about trapping and culling grey squirrels in our Community Woodland, so I organised an evening in January 2015 in support of grey squirrel trapping and to make people aware of the Red Squirrel Project in general.  Becky and Huw gave a summary of their views and work with the Red Squirrel Project and the reasons and need to control grey squirrels. Unfortunately, he evening was interrupted by two people who are against grey squirrel control, but it was later agreed by the committee that trapping would go ahead.

The Woodland Group have a management agreement with NRW, so Becky applied to NRW for permission for volunteers to trap grey squirrels in Coed Y Bont.  In April 2015 I was given the go ahead to trap in the Woodland and started later that month. I trapped throughout the rest of the year, missing only a few weeks here and there. It became frustrating when 9 traps were stolen on 3 separate occasions. Overall I have trapped and culled about 40 Grey Squirrels in Coed Y Bont and 7 elsewhere. I would usually do my trapping early in the morning before work during the week. Spending so much time trapping grey squirrels in Coed Y Bont made me think about the link between the Grey Squirrel and loss of woodland biodiversity.

My feelings are that the Grey Squirrel, especially at such a high density within broadleaved woodlands, sometimes up to 18 per acre (2), can and does do a lot of damage. Some of the grey squirrels I trapped and killed were surprisingly large and aggressive. This made me think that, because of the sheer quantity and aggressive nature of grey squirrels, they may be frightening some of
the medium sized mammals from the woodland such as polecats (Photo: John Smith). I saw no evidence of polecats in Coed Y Bont until I trapped and released 2 in autumn 2015 after I had considerably reduced the grey squirrel population in the woodland. This may be a coincidence, but I can't be sure.
 
I monitor the Dormouse boxes in Coed Y Bont, of which we have 25 (Dormouse photo: Tom Chalmers) and so far, no sign of Dormice. When the grey squirrels were present in higher numbers, I noticed that the hazelnuts were being totally annihilated in the early autumn by the greys; hazelnut shells could be seen strewn all over the woodland floor. I suspect that the Grey Squirrels also must have been taking
their share of bird eggs and young birds.
My hope is that now that the number of grey squirrels has been drastically reduced in Coed Y Bont, this will help the birds nesting in the woodland.  There will also be less damage to the trees and fewer greys this should also increase the chance of encouraging dormice into the woodland and with any luck, the red squirrel.

I have recently gained around £8,000 funding for Coed Y Bont from Cynnal Y Cardi and The Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust. With part of this funding I will be purchasing pine marten boxes, assembling them with the local youth club, and then putting them up in Coed Y Bont with guidance and assistance from David Bavin of the Vincent Wildlife Trust. We hope that this will assist with the pine marten re-introduction programme and that the grey squirrels will provide them with a tasty meal!

One thing I have seen and heard since 2008 is the increase of deer hoof prints in the mud and of sightings. I have been within 15m of a roe deer, seeing its eyes, nose and markings. I think that times like this, getting close to wildlife makes it all so worthwhile - don’t you think?
  1. European Squirrel Initiative: The Grey Squirrel Review-Profile of an invasive Alien Species. Louise Huxley, 2003
  2. Towards a Forestry Commission England Grey Squirrel Policy. England Squirrel Forum
Gweithredu Lleol
 Bioamrywiaeth yng Nghoed Y Bont
Y Gwirfoddolwr a’r Cydgysylltydd Lleol, Chris Harris, yn cynnig ei syniadau ynghylch rheoli gwiwerod llwyd mewn perthynas â bioamrywiaeth coetiroedd yng Nghoed Y Bont.
 
Enw gwyddonol y wiwer goch yw Sciurus vulgaris, sef ‘gwiwer gyffredin’, ac mae hyn yn adlewyrchu ei dosbarthiad eang yn y gorffennol. Ym Mhrydain, cafodd tiriogaeth y wiwer goch ei chyfyngu yn y 17eg a'r 18fed ganrif o ganlyniad i ddarnio cynefinoedd a cholli coetiroedd. Fodd bynnag, mae dirywiad difrifol yn niferoedd y wiwer goch yn fwy diweddar yn gysylltiedig i raddau â dyfodiad y wiwer lwyd, Sciurus carolinensis.   Cyflwynwyd y wiwer lwyd i Gymru yn 1876 o Ogledd Ddwyrain America ac mae wedi lledaenu'n gyflym, gan raddol ddisodli’r wiwer goch frodorol yn y rhan fwyaf o Gymru a Lloegr, ac yng nghanolbarth a de-ddwyrain yr Alban. Mae gwiwerod llwyd yn ddinistriol dros ben mewn coetiroedd, lle maen nhw’n tynnu’r rhisgl oddi ar y coed, yn cymryd wyau ac adar ifanc, a hefyd yn dwyn cyflenwadau bwyd mamaliaid eraill, megis mes a chnau cyll. Gall gwiwerod llwyd dreulio cnau anaeddfed, a does dim rhaid iddyn nhw aros nes bod y cnau wedi aeddfedu. Oddi ar y 1960au a’r 1970au, mae’n anodd amgyffred y gostyngiad a fu yn niferoedd y gwiwerod coch a’r cynnydd yn niferoedd y llwydion. Yn ddiweddar, cafwyd rhywfaint o dystiolaeth bod rhai gwiwerod llwyd (yn pwyso 600g ar gyfartaledd) ychydig yn fwy na'r arfer; gallant fod hyd at ddwywaith maint / pwysau y gwiwerod coch (300g). Gall gwiwerod llwyd fagu ddwywaith neu deirgwaith y flwyddyn, a chael rhwng tair a saith gwiwer fach bob tro.

Yn ystod yr hydref 2014, cysylltais â Becky ac erbyn mis Tachwedd roeddwn yn gydgysylltydd gwirfoddol y Prosiect Gwiwerod Coch yn ardal Y Bont. Y lle amlwg i mi ganolbwyntio arno oedd Coed Y Bont, ond roedd rhai o aelodau’r pwyllgor yn amau a ddylid trapio a difa gwiwerod llwyd yn ein Coetir Cymunedol.  Felly, trefnais noson ym mis Ionawr 2015 yn cefnogi trapio’r wiwer lwyd a gwneud pobl yn ymwybodol o’r  Prosiect Gwiwerod Coch yn gyffredinol.  Rhoddodd Becky a Huw grynodeb o'u safbwyntiau a'u gwaith gyda’r Prosiect Gwiwerod Coch a'r rhesymau pam mae angen rheoli gwiwerod llwyd. Yn anffodus, tarfwyd ar y noson gan ddau o bobl sydd yn erbyn rheoli gwiwerod llwyd, ond cytunwyd yn ddiweddarach gan y pwyllgor y dylid bwrw ymlaen â’r trapio.

Mae gan y Grŵp Coetir gytundeb rheoli gydag Adnoddau Naturiol Cymru, ac felly gwnaeth Becky gais i’r corff hwnnw am ganiatâd i wirfoddolwyr drapio gwiwerod llwyd yng Nghoed Y Bont.  Ym mis Ebrill 2015 cefais ganiatâd i drapio yn y coetir a dechreuwyd ar y gwaith yn hwyrach y mis hwnnw. Bûm yn trapio trwy weddill y flwyddyn, gan golli ond ychydig o wythnosau yma ac acw. Roedd yn rhwystredig pan gafodd naw o drapiau eu dwyn ar dri achlysur gwahanol.  Serch hynny, llwyddais i drapio a difa tua 40 o wiwerod llwyd yng Nghoed Y Bont a saith mewn mannau eraill. Byddaf fel arfer yn gwneud y trapio yn gynnar yn y bore cyn mynd i'r gwaith yn ystod yr wythnos. Mae treulio cymaint o amser yn trapio gwiwerod llwyd yng Nghoed Y Bont yn gwneud i mi feddwl am y cysylltiad rhwng y wiwer lwyd a cholli bioamrywiaeth mewn coetiroedd.

Teimlaf fod y gwiwerod llwyd, yn enwedig pan fo cynifer ohonyn nhw mewn coetiroedd llydanddail - weithiau hyd at 16 o wiwerod ym mhob erw - yn gallu gwneud llawer o ddifrod. Roedd rhai o'r gwiwerod llwyd a drapiwyd ac a laddwyd gennyf yn rhyfeddol o fawr ac ymosodol. Gwnaeth hyn i mi feddwl, oherwydd maint a natur ymosodol y gwiwerod llwyd, efallai eu bod yn dychryn rhai o'r mamaliaid canolig eu maint - fel y ffwlbart – o’r coetir. (Llun: John Smith)  Ni welais unrhyw dystiolaeth o ffwlbartiaid yng Nghoed Y Bont hyd nes i mi drapio dau a’u rhyddhau yn hydref 2015 ar ôl i mi leihau niferoedd y wiwer lwyd yn y coetir yn sylweddol.  Efallai taw cyd-ddigwyddiad oedd hyn, ond dydw i ddim yn rhy siŵr.

Byddaf yn monitro'r 25 o flychau pathewod yng Nghoed Y Bont (Pathew. Llun: Tom Chalmers) a hyd yma, does dim sôn am bathewod.   Pan fydd nifer fawr o wiwerod llwyd yn bresennol, sylwaf fod y cnau cyll yn cael eu dinistrio’n llwyr yn gynnar yn yr hydref ganddyn nhw; mae plisg cnau cyll i'w gweld ar wasgar ar lawr y coetir. Rwy’n amau hefyd bod y gwiwerod llwyd yn cymryd eu siâr o adar ac adar ifanc.

Fy ngobaith, nawr bod nifer y gwiwerod llwyd wedi gostwng yn sylweddol yng Nghoed Y Bont, y bydd hyn yn helpu'r adar i nythu yn y coetir.  Hefyd, bydd llai o niwed i'r coed a llai o wiwerod llwyd, a dylai hyn olygu gwell siawns o annog pathewod - ac efallai’r wiwer goch - i mewn i'r goedwig.

Yn ddiweddar, llwyddais gael £8,000 ar gyfer Coed Y Bont gan Cynnal Y Cardi ac Ymddiriedolaeth Elusennol Stadiwm y Mileniwm. Byddaf yn defnyddio peth o’r arian i brynu blychau belaod, eu cydosod gyda'r clwb ieuenctid lleol, ac yna eu gosod yng Nghoed Y Bont dan oruchwyliaeth David Bavin o Ymddiriedolaeth Natur Vincent. Gobeithiwn y bydd hyn yn cynorthwyo'r rhaglen i ailgyflwyno belaod ac y bydd y gwiwerod llwyd yn bryd o fwyd blasus iddyn nhw.
Trap Loan Scheme / Cynllun Benthyca Trapiau

For free bait and loan of trapping equipment,
contact your nearest Local Co-ordinator, based in
Pontrhyfendigaid, Tregaron, Llanddewi Brefi,  Llanfair Clydogau, 
Ffarmers, Crugybar, Cilycwm, Rhandirmwyn and Abergwesyn.  
Visit the website for contact details
 If you are interested in becoming a Co-ordinator for your local area, contact Becky on b.hulme@welshwildlife.org / 07972 201202


I gael abwyd a benthyca cyfarpar trapio am ddim,
cysylltwch â’ch Cydgysylltydd Lleol agosaf ym
Mhontrhydfendigaid, Tregaron, Llanddewibefi,  Llanfair Clydogau,  Ffarmers, Crug-y-bar, Cilycwm, Rhandir-mwyn a Abergwesyn.  
Ewch i’n
gwefan i gael y manylion cyswllt
Os oes gennych ddiddordeb mewn bod yn Gydgysylltydd yn eich ardal leol, cysylltwch â Becky ar 
b.hulme@welshwildlife.org / 07972 201202
Red Squirrel Events
Digwyddiadau Gwiwer Goch
Events coming up in in May in Cilycwm and in Llanwrtyd Wells.  Hear about the latest developments in red squirrel conservation in mid Wales.  Find out about the Trap Loan Scheme and what you can do to help red squirrels in your area. Please spread the word amongst your fiends, neighbours and family and come along to give your support!

Digwyddiadau ym mis Mai yng Nghil-y-cwm a Llanwrtyd.  Clywch am y datblygiadau diweddaraf ym maes cadwraeth y wiwer goch yng nghanolbarth Cymru.  Dysgwch am y Cynllun Benthyca Trapiau a'r hyn y gallwch ei wneud i helpu gwiwerod coch yn eich ardal chi. Rhowch wybod i’ch ffrindiau, cymdogion a theulu a dewch i gynnig cymorth!
Local Opinion - Re-wilding the Tywi Forest
Barn Leol - Troi Coedwig Tywi yn Wyllt Unwaith Eto
Local  conservation  enthusiast  Robert  Piller  offers   his  formula  for  re-wilding the Tywi Forest.

Y cadwraethwr lleol Robert Piller yn cynnig ei syniadau am droi Coedwig Tywi yn wyllt unwaith eto.
 
Given what we now know, it seems obvious to me that a good way forward for dealing with greys and conserving reds would be to have well-protected sites within their remaining localities, where red squirrels could have a disturbance-free existence.   Nowadays red squirrels in mid Wales are usually confined to Forestry Commission (Natural Resources Wales) land where disturbance from felling and other operations can have their detrimental effects on already struggling populations.

Within these sites, or at least very nearby to them, pine marten reintroduction programmes could be established. (And they are being, by the Vincent Wildlife Trust!  See pine marten article – Eds.) Pine martens are known to kill greys, whereas the nimbler and lighter reds are more able to make their escape, and as a result, pine martens will completely drive the greys out, even from where they've been established for decades.  None of this messy and unnecessary culling that so often goes hand in hand with red  squirrel conservation; a simple clean and effective way of dealing with the problem reds have had to face for all too long. Ideally, once the threat from the greys has subsided, native trees would be left in the protected areas and any non-natives such as Sitka spruce could be felled out or ring-barked; apart from this odd bit of management now and again, red squirrels could be guaranteed being left free from disturbance within these small areas.

This kind of thinking should not be confined to squirrels of course. River systems have benefited from re-wildling too, with willows being planted, pollarding, and log-pile creation for otter conservation.  And, as a result, that other invasive species, the American mink has shown a similar decline, with water voles often following in the wake of otter re-colonisation. Projects like these could have untold benefits with simple and very non-intensive interactions on our part.  
Imagine the Tywi Forest with wild boars eating (albeit native) bracken and invasive fireweed rhizomes, or, further afield in central Scotland, wolves thinning out red deer herds and allowing the native Caledonian forests to grow back again.  This kind of work has endless possibilities and could free us all up and enable us to concentrate our  efforts  on  other  conservation
projects instead. Pond creation projects are another thing I'm  really passionate about. At the moment frogs are spawning in puddles along flooded farm tracks and footpaths in the Tywi forest area; it is, I think, an appalling situation which could so easily be resolved. (Photo: Stu Brown) A man employed with a digger for a few days could make all the difference. Please let's do our damnedest  to   help   bring   back  our native wildlife - lets give things a chance!
Robert Piller runs the Campaign Against the Trade in Endangered Species.

The views of third party contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership (MWRSP) or of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW).
A Warm Welcome! / Croeso Cynnes!
Local Coordinator Paula Senior hosted the Volunteer Gathering in February at her home near Crugybar. The day was a great opportunity for some of the key volunteers on the Red Squirrel Project to get together and exchange ideas. We were also treated to a tour of a wide range of resident exotic mounted animals by Paula's partner, Carl Jones.  Carl has built up his collection over many years of working in conservation in a variety of countries.  A big thanks to Paula and Carl for their hospitality.   Pictured here (left to right) are Huw Denman (MWRSP), bear (grizzly) and Local Coordinator (Bont area) Chris Harris.
Cyfarfu gwirfoddolwr ym mis Chwefror yng nghartref Paula Senior ger Crug-y-bar. Roedd y diwrnod yn gyfle gwych i rai o gwirfoddolwyr allweddol y Prosiect Gwiwerod Coch ddod at ei gilydd a chyfnewid syniadau. Hefyd, yng nghwmni partner Paula, Carl Jones, fe welsom sawl anifail egsotig wedi’i stwffio.  Mae casgliad Carl yn ganlyniad sawl blwyddyn yn gweithio ym maes cadwraeth mewn amrywiaeth o wledydd.  Diolch yn fawr i Paula a Carl am eu lletygarwch.   Yn y llun (o’r chwith) mae Huw Denman (Prosiect Gwiwerod Coch Canolbarth Cymru), arth fraith, a ‘r Cydgysylltydd Lleol (ardal Y Bont) Chris Harris.
Copyright © 2016 Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, All rights reserved.


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp