App to keep track of red squirrels developed

Llandudno-based digital agency Livetech has developed an app to help keep track of red squirrels.

The Squirrel Location Map, available on iPhone, iPad and Android, allows people to pinpoint exactly where they’ve spotted a native red squirrel – keeping them on the radar.

Red squirrels faced near extinction in Britain before a major conservation effort to boost the population was set up in Anglesey two decades ago.

The app has been launched in conjunction with Red Squirrels Trust Wales, an organisation aimed at protecting the species.

Paul Levy, managing director of Livetech, said: “The main feature of the app is to help people record squirrel sightings. If they spot a squirrel, they can log on to the app and report it instantly.

“It allows people to engage with Red Squirrels Trust Wales and to share and access information.

“People can log into the app and find out where the red squirrels are. It has other features as well, such as information about red squirrel conservation work and a news feed. It’s also connected to the Red Squirrels Trust Wales Twitter feed.

Dr Craig Shuttleworth, director of Red Squirrels Trust Wales, explained why he asked Livetech to create the Squirrel Location Map:

He said: “Years ago people would write to us to say where they’d spotted a red squirrel. We’re now living in an age of social media where most people have smartphones.

“It’s another way for people to connect, and they can update the app instantly. The app designed by Livetech is very popular. It’s linked to our website, and we also have a Facebook page.

“The data collected through the app is very useful to us because it helps us keep track of where the red squirrels are going. We monitor distribution and abundance. If you go back 15 years, hardly anybody saw a red squirrel on the island, but now people are spotting them more and more often.”