RESIDENTS across Dorset are being urged to support conservation work to protect red squirrels.

More than 140,000 homes across the county will soon receive a booklet produced by the charity Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) explaining the plight of red squirrels and how the organisation has helped to ensure their survival on Brownsea Island.

It is hoped the booklet will encourage people to sign up to the charity’s red squirrel membership campaign to help protect the animals in years to come.

Alastair Cook, DWT marketing and fundraising director, said: “Membership is the only reliable source of income we have. Without the valuable support of our members, we wouldn’t be able to manage habitats for threatened species such as red squirrels on Brownsea Island, or the Dartford Warbler on Upton heath in Poole.” The booklet, entitled Dear Human, features illustrations by Rachel Bright, the creator the popular card and gift brand the Bright Side.

“I feel so passionately about preserving the habitats of our beautiful county and I am so pleased that I can lend my artist’s hand to help,” she said.

Rachel, who lives near Wareham, added: “I feel lucky every day to live in such a diverse and stunning place and we all have a responsibility to be part of keeping it that way. I look forward to being a small part of the enormous amount of work this charity does for us all.”

Mr Cook said: “Rachel’s stunning illustrations and engaging words are a unique opportunity for us to share the serious message that we need help to continue our conservation work in Dorset.”

Brownsea Island, which is owned by the National Trust, is a haven for red squirrels and one of the very few places in southern England where they still survive.

Dorset Wildlife Trust has leased and managed 101 hectares of Brownsea Island as nature reserve for more than 50 years.