Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Plans to help the pine marten recover in southern Britain

Pine marten struggling to re-establish itself in England and Wales
October 2013. The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT), with support from statutory agencies and other conservation organisations has decided to carry out a new study to look at the feasibility of boosting pine marten numbers in England and Wales.
Pine martens are doing well in Scotland - recovering naturally from their Highland stronghold. In England and Wales, however, the picture is far from rosy and it now seems that pine marten numbers in England and Wales dipped too low during the last century for the population ever to recover naturally.

No recent evidence of breeding or natural recovery
Chairman of the VWT, Dr Tom Tew said: "With no recent evidence of breeding or natural recovery, reinforcement of the existing UK population could be the only way to restore a viable pine marten population in southern Britain. This would mean supplementing the current pine marten populations in England and Wales with animals from elsewhere".

Embarking on this new study is the culmination of more than 30 years of pine marten research and survey work carried out by the VWT: research that has given a clear picture of the causes of the pine marten's decline and the requirements for its survival. A data base of sightings collected over this period has allowed the Trust to identify pine marten ‘hot spots' in which to focus its efforts. However, despite the use of sophisticated detection equipment, such as remote cameras offering 24/7 surveillance opportunities and, more recently, advanced DNA techniques, there has only been a handful of unequivocal records in the last 20 years.


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