Sex-mad ‘super’ squirrel who fathered 12 babies awarded retirement

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A sex-loving red squirrel has been awarded retirement from his mating duties after fathering 12 babies.

Radish is being moved to an all-male animal sanctuary having played a vital role as a "super breeder" at Wildwood Escot, in Devon.

The wildlife conservation charity employed five-year-old Radish for its red squirrel breeding programme and was brought in to tackle their declining population.

Stepping into Radish's stud shoes will be his son Bonsai, tasked with carrying on the family tradition with a new female red squirrel arriving soon from Welsh Mountain Zoo.

Devon Live reports staff are confident that Radish’s legacy will continue with his grandchildren following their aunts and uncles, released into the British countryside next year.

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Senior keeper Ben Gregory said: “Radish is a real star. He has played a crucial role in our breeding efforts producing a total of twelve kits for release projects.

"We’re all sorry to see him go, but he’s certainly earned his retirement.”

Radish is set to be released into a spacious walk-through woodland enclosure of other males at the charity’s Kent site.

Ben said: “We also have an open woodland habitat here in Devon, but in order to have proper control over breeding, ours is an all-female facility while the enclosure at our sister park in Kent is all-male.

"In addition to providing an excellent opportunity for visitors to see this iconic species in their natural habitat, these amazing woodland habitats enable us to provide a fitting retirement for both our male and female squirrels once they’ve left the programme.”

Red squirrels were once a common sight in the British landscape but the population has been in steep decline since the introduction of the grey squirrel from America in the 1800s.

George Hyde, general manager at Wildwood Escot, said: “Radish has played a vital role in the long, ongoing battle against the grey invasion, but his contribution would be impossible without the generosity of our supporters."

The Wildwood Trust recently began working with Natural Resources Wales on a new release programme, which will see young squirrels bred in Devon and Kent released into controlled sites in the Welsh countryside.

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