Scottish pine martens reviving Welsh cousins' fortunes

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Picture courtesy of Dave Pullan

An ambitious project to revive the dwindling pine marten population in Wales has got off to a good start, with help from Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES).

Last year the FES team in Inverness, Ross and Skye helped The Vincent Wildlife Trust to capture twenty pine martens, which were then transported to Wales as part of the Trust’s six-year ‘Pine Marten Recovery Project’.

Released into the Welsh countryside towards the end of 2015, at least three of the ten females captured have recently given birth.

Giles Brockman for the Inverness team, said;

“The pine marten carries the title of Britain’s second rarest carnivore after the wildcat, so these births in Wales are excellent news. 

“These amazing animals are comparatively common in Scotland compared with Wales, where they were on the point of being extinct. In fact our research into these animals on the national forest estate indicates that there are healthy populations in many forests. 

“Conservation is a big part of our remit so once The Trust had obtained the correct licence from SNH we were more than happy to help and to donate some of our pine martens to the project and help them take their plans forward."

The animals were released in woodland owned by Natural Resources Wales and their behaviour was radio tracked daily. Behavioural changes indicated that birthing might be imminent and images from remote cameras have now confirmed that at least five kits have been born.

To consolidate this early success, a further twenty pine martens will be translocated from Scotland in the autumn of this year, which should help establish a viable population that over time will spread to other forests of Wales and across the border into England. 

Giles added;

“Pine marten were about to disappear from the Welsh countryside altogether so this project is a good result for all concerned. Hopefully, with a further boost later this year, these amazing animals will be taken off the danger list.”

More information about the pine marten is available on the project website:  www.pine-marten-recovery-project.org.uk

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. The Vincent Wildlife Trust The Vincent Wildlife Trust is a national charity engaged in innovative and independent mammal research and conservation. Read more at: www.vwt.org.uk and www.pine-marten-recovery-project.org.uk
  4. The Pine Marten Recovery Project aims to restore a viable pine marten population to Wales and England. The project’s major partners are the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), Chester Zoo and Woodland Trust, with support from Wildlife Vets International and Exeter University.
  5. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  6. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.