Red squirrels have been introduced at Castle Ward in a bid to establish a new population in the grounds of the County Down estate.
The first four have been released in the grounds of the 18th Century mansion at Strangford, with more to follow.
The animals were carefully transported by Belfast Zoo and Ulster Wildlife in hay-lined nest boxes to a “soft-release pen” in the estate to allow them to get used to their new surroundings.
The move is part of an work by the National Trust, Ulster Wildlife, Belfast Zoo, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and the Heart of Down Red Squirrel Group to secure the long-term future of this increasingly rare mammal.
Excellent news …