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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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Rescued red squirrel released back into Cumbrian woods

A red squirrel is back in woods at Workington after two months ‘bed rest’ and recovery in an RSPCA centre.

Red squirrel photo
The rescued squirrel

The squirrel, which was rescued from a busy road in the town after being struck by a car, was discovered on New Year’s Day by 25-year-old David Graham.

Mr Graham, who was returning from New Year celebrations with his girlfriend Leah Hodgson, spotted the creature rolling around on its back in the middle of traffic.

“I was driving back from a party at my parents when we saw it in the middle of Stainburn Road, on the other side,” he said.

“Cars were swerving all round him – he wouldn’t have had a chance if left where he was.”

The couple drove along and turned around “as soon as we could”, he said, and parked near the squirrel.

“There was another squirrel dodging cars to run back and forth to him, so we were worried it would get hit also,” said Mr Graham.

“We got my coat and picked him up in it. We were worried he might bite but he was very tame.

“We thought he was dying, his eyes kept closing.”

Luckily, the squirrel, which had a fractured shoulder, clung on, and the couple took it home to Garfield Street while they worked out what to do next.

“It was New Year’s Day and all the local vets were shut,” he said.

“We didn’t know what to do and we’ve got a cat in the house so we couldn’t have them both.”

A friend suggested they ring the emergency RSCPA number and they sent someone out a couple of hours later, Mr Graham said.

The squirrel was taken to Stapeley Grange wildlife centre in Cheshire where it spent two months resting, with painkillers to help its shoulder.

It was then released in woods at Stainburn, close to where it was found.

RSPCA inspector Martyn Fletcher said: “He didn’t move out of his box for the first three minutes, just poked his head out and looked around nervously.

“Then, as quick as lightning, he dashed out and ran straight up the biggest, tallest pine tree around.

“It’s often bad news when we are called out to traffic incidents involving red squirrels, so it’s heartwarming that there was a happy ending this time. Clearly every red squirrel we manage to rescue, care for and return back to the wild is going to benefit the struggling population.”

Mr Graham was pleased to hear of “his” squirrel’s recovery. “It’s brilliant,” he said.

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