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The Forestry Commission is working with the Vincent Wildlife Trust to entice rare Pine Martens to join the property ladder in the North East.
Only ten years ago the creature was written off as extinct in England by some experts, but earlier this year marten scat was found in private woodland adjoining Forestry Commission’s 1,200 hectare (3,000 acre) Kidland Forest.
The discovery, made by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, was amongst the first biological evidence for the marten’s continued existence outside Scotland and Wales. Now five special nesting boxes have been erected in the Forestry Commission wood to offer the creature a ready-made den to raise young.
Tom Dearnley, Forestry Commission Ecologist, said:
"Pine martens are magnificent, agile, tree climbing animals, about the same size as a small to medium domestic cat, but can be incredibly elusive. Once they were present throughout England, but persecution saw them restricted to remote refuges like the Scottish Highlands. The discovery of droppings or scats near Kidland was stunning news, but we are still very much in the dark about the creature's status. If we can entice an animal to use one of the boxes, not only will it teach us more about the pine marten population in England but it will also provide a chance to study its behaviour and place to rear young."
Adult pine martens grow over two foot long and sport a bushy tail. They require large territories as males can roam over 10 to 25 square kilometres. The Vincent Wildlife Trust has collated many convincing sightings over the years in Northumberland and North Yorkshire. The Forestry Commission is committed to enhancing and extending biodiversity in its 200,000 acres of woodland in North East England.
Notes to editors
- Pine martens eat small rodents, birds, beetles, carrion, eggs and fungi and berries in in the Autumn. They mostly hunt on the ground, but they are also superb climbers. Martens mark their territories with faeces (known as scats) deposited in places where they are conspicuous to other martens.
- The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. To find out more visit www.forestry.gov.uk
Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.