Wildlife

New neighbours: Relocation of the Pine Marten

This plan has been in the works for some time now but the news is out and it’s official, Pine Martens are being relocated to Wales! Pine Martens which are Britain’s second rarest carnivore after the Scottish Wildcat, these smiley creatures have been absent from Wales for decades and now after the £1.2m pine marten recovery project conducted by the Vincent Wildlife Trust, these creatures will be gracing us with their present once more.
To give you an idea of the sheer pleasure it is to have Pine Martens in Wales, at current, there is no known population size in Wales because of how rare these creatures are to us! 20 Pine Martens are uprooting themselves and taking a journey down to Mid-Wales in the Autumn to be re-homed with a possibility of a further 20 being introduced in 2016, the population will hopefully be self-sufficient and hoping to make the move to other forests in Wales and then across the border into England, it’s the least we can do after that devastating loss in Twickenham last week..

With the success of the reintroduction of the Red Kite in Wales, which is now booming! Scientists and like-minded people are hoping this relocation project of Pine Martens will bring the same amount of success and help with our wildlife tourism, after all almost everyone in Britain has been to Gigrin Farm or places of similar nature, right?! Most people do travel to Scotland to get a glimpse of this fury character, so why not make a shorter journey to Wales? Below is a Fact File off the BBC website, with credit to Getty Images, conservationist and naturalists absolutely lost their minds when a pine marten was found dead in 2012 in Powys. Okay, yeah it’s not the start to a Disney like story but this proved that there were Martens in Wales and in Powys to be exact and this was the first confirmed sighting in decades and the first carcass for 50 years!

Vincent Wildlife Trust are currently looking for suitable sites across Mid-Wales to relocate the 20 Pine Martens. Ideal areas would have woodland habitat, few roads and no shooting aswell as a low fox population as their main predators are foxes and golden eagles.. I think we’re okay with the golden eagle situation.. Surveys carried out suggests that there could be atleast 4,000 Pine Martens in Scotland!
Having these cheeky chaps in Wales, will be an absolute delight! My personal opinion is that there is clearly a need to introduce this species elsewhere, with 4,000 in Scotland there is a risk of families becoming inbred but separating the genes and moving them around could well help the species to survive longer. Even with 4,000 it is still a highly threatened species since they cannot just live in Scotland alone, relocation is an ideal way to mix-genes, a species thriving in one location does not been it is stable, there is next-to-no pine martens well none that anybody knows of, in England and Wales which makes it ideal locations for these to be relocated to. It’s not as if they are location thousands of Pine Martens to Wales, 20 will be relocated and they can begin to populate and hopefully gain in numbers. The people of Vincent Wildlife Trust have years of experience of bringing species back from the brink, for example, the otter and water vole, both of which everyone loves to watch but with personal experience of surveying Water Voles it’s clear to see that they do an amazing job and there is not water voles swarming people’s homes, there is a gentle increase in the population but the way these species are, they’re elusive meaning there is still a thrill to be able to catch a glimpse of any of these species. I will definitely be one of the first people taking the (very small) journey from my home to Mid-Wales in the hopes of seeing a Pine Marten in my home country.
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