Reds & electricity poles
A couple of weeks ago a squirrel group member and resident of Grisedale reported finding two dead red squirrels he had picked up in his garden, at the bottom of an electricity pole. These were not the first ones he had found and as there were two at once we were concerned that they might actually have been electrocuted. I contacted Craig Shuttleworth and he put me in touch with Paul Duff of APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency). We arranged to take the dead squirrels to the APHA Veterinary Investigation Centre near Penrith, where post mortems were carried out. They had indeed been electrocuted when they came into contact with the transformer on the pole.
The happy end to this rather sad story is that after the group member contacted Electricity North West about the issue they were very quick to act and came out only a few days later, on a Saturday morning, to insulate the transformer on the pole to prevent any more fatalities. Fingers crossed that there will be no more problems!
There must be a great many of these transformers around the country, and in an area rich in wildlife they are obviously a hazard. Perhaps it is worth circulating this information to local groups. If anyone else knows of such a transformer pole, in particular one in red squirrel habitat, then Electricity North West were very approachable and have proved themselves to be extremely keen to help. We are very grateful to them.