Wildlife lovers are being urged to bid for unique celebrity artwork to celebrate Red Squirrel Week this week.
A host of famous names, including wildlife expert Bill Oddie and comedienne Jo Brand, have been enlisted to Scribble A Squirrel for charity and have their artwork auctioned on eBay.
Members of the public can also get arty and add their designs to the collection which will raise money for the Save Our Squirrels campaign.
Fiona Whitfield, Conservation Officer for the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, said: “This is a unique and innovative way to help Red Squirrel conservation and something most people can do.
“Not everybody in the Lancashire Wildlife Trust area get to see red squirrels or help out on the ground but anyone can help by bidding on a piece of artwork or creating a piece of art.”
Money raised from the project will help continue the Trust’s work in Merseyside and West Lancashire, which currently only has funding until March.
The initiative is launched less than three months after a red squirrel found dead in Ainsdale was confirmed to have died from the squirrel pox virus. The last outbreak of the virus decimated the population of red squirrels in Ainsdale and Formby, which crashed by 90% in 2008.
However, the reds staged a remarkable recovery, and the population is now 60% of what it was before the virus hit. Although only two red squirrels have been found to be suffering from the virus so far, there could be more.
“There is always a fear that there are more sick squirrels out there,” said Fiona. “It was 40 days during the last out break between finding the first dead red and the second.”
She added: “Lancashire Wildlife Trust contribute to red squirrel conservation massively and are supported by our partners, membership, our staff and volunteers. The red squirrel numbers that we have now and the recovery we have is down to that dedication and we need to keep that up if we want to Save our Squirrels.”
For more information and to bid on a Scribble log onto www.saveoursquirrels.org