An RSPCA wildlife centre has admitted a rare patient – a red squirrel.

The elusive squirrel – a native British species which is only seen in certain parts of the UK – was admitted to RSPCA Stapeley Grange, in Nantwich, Cheshire, after being found orphaned in Liverpool.

It is only the tenth red squirrel taken in by the centre since 2012.

“The number of red squirrels we get at Stapeley Grange is so remarkably small so when one arrives it is exciting for the team to see such an iconic yet little-seen animal,” said Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange.

“The squirrel was hand-fed initially four times a day but is doing much better now and should hopefully be able to go back to the wild soon.”

The protected mammals have declined quite markedly in Britain over a number of decades and in England and Wales, they are now only found in a few areas. They are listed as a priority species for conservation in the UK biodiversity action plan. As well as competition with grey squirrels, habitat loss and the spread of diseases such as squirrelpox have contributed to their decline.

This year is a big year for Stapeley Grange, as it’s the centre’s 25th anniversary. Over this time the team will have helped over 130,000 wild, domestic and exotic animals. You can follow Stapeley on Facebook RSPCAstapeleygrange or Twitter: @RSPCAstapeley or @StapeleyCats to find out what events are planned to celebrate this achievement. You can also sign up to the centre’s quarterly newsletter here: https://www.rspca.org.uk/stapeleynewsletter