Experts have warned that Aberfeldy’s native red squirrel population may be in danger after more grey squirrels were spotted in the area.
Conservation group Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS) is urging locals to report sightings of the animals.
There have been two reports of grey squirrels on Chapel Road in recent days, with further sightings on Crieff Road and at the Birks of Aberfeldy last autumn.
Reports also emerged of grey squirrels in Highland Perthshire last summer.
SSRS says the Aberfeldy area is considered a haven for the native red squirrels.
However, there are concerns that the invasive greys – which often out-compete reds for food and carry squirrelpox – could force them out.
Ann-Marie MacMaster, Tayside conservation officer, said: “These recent sightings are a cause for concern because it could suggest that the grey squirrels spotted last year have now bred.
Grey squirrels could ‘devastate’ red population
“If grey squirrels established themselves in the area, this would have devastating consequences for the local red population.
“We are asking everyone in the Aberfeldy area to keep your eyes peeled for grey squirrels and report any sightings direct to our project website.”
Aberfeldy is part of the ‘Highland Line’ – a 10km-wide corridor that runs from Montrose, through Kirriemuir, Dunkeld, Crieff and beyond – where red squirrels are normally seen to thrive.
Ann-Marie added: “To those in Aberfeldy who have grey squirrels visiting their garden and wish to take a proactive approach, SSRS staff can lend traps and provide training and ongoing support.
“Those with a trap will be paired with an experienced dispatcher.
“However, the simplest thing anyone can do to help is report sightings. If you see a grey squirrel in your garden please do not chase it away as this will reduce our chances of catching and removing it.”