Pine Marten Adventures
You may not have heard of the pine marten but dont worry. It is one of the UK's most secretive mammals. It is also rather cute and sadly, rare.
In England the pine marten was presumed extinct, until 2015, when a very lucky photographer caught a picture of it at woodlands in South Shropshire. This was the first confimed photo of a pine marten in England for over 100 years. It caused great excitement here at Shropshire Wildlife Trust and for our mammal expert Stuart Edmunds in particular (the one in the video...).
This project will give Shropshire Pine Martens the best chance of survival.
What will our project do?
We need to monitor and conserve the woodlands to ensure there is suitable cover and food. This will mean working with local landowners, gamekeepers and the community to raise awareness. We will visit local groups to carry out talks and presentations and work alongside land owners to monitor woodlands nearby.
We will provide lots of volunteering opportunities such as checking den boxes, setting and checking camera traps and looking for scats (poo). We will encourage all ages to explore the woodlands with us, learning new skills along the way.
The project will undertake further research work using camera traps and hair tubes to collect DNA to determine the origin of this population and map where and what habitat is being used.
We can also use a specially trained scat detection dog, Luna, she is a lot better than us at finding scats!
So this is where your pledges come in, as well as knowing you are contributing to a worthy conservation cause we have some great rewards up for grabs, these include:
So, what is a pine marten?
It is not a bird..the pine marten is a mammal, closely related to stoats and weasels. They are mainly active at night and prefer woodlands.
They eat bilberries and other fruits, nuts, small mammals and birds.
The pine marten remains one of the rarest native mammals in Great Britain.
As far as we know they do not exist in England apart from in Shropshire. They do however have a small stronghold in Wales and are found throughout Scotland.
The famous picture
While there have been whisperings about the existence of pine martens in Shropshire for many years there was no evidence, until Dave Pearce, an amateur wildlife photographer glimpsed one in a wood in South Shropshire in 2015 and got a picture of it ---->
Since the picture was taken, Stuart Edmunds, mammal expert at Shropshire Wildlife Trust has been monitoring their presence, identifying 3 individuals at one location and another at a location 10 miles away.
Over the last year we have successfully recorded pine martens on camera in the South Shropshire woodland, the video below shows some of this exciting footage:
The re-appearence of pine martens in England has been national news, featuring in several main stream newspapers, BBC news, British Wildlife magazines and a feature on BBC Countryfile.
Who is Stuart?
Stuart is Shropshire Wildlife Trust's mammal expert. His desk is the most interesting out of everyones as it regularly features different types of animal poo, bits of bone and half chewed nuts.
Stuart has always been fascinated by mammals, in particular the pine marten so we would love to raise money to allow him to continue working on his dream project.
Our vision is for Shropshire to be alive with wildlife, loved by people and its wild places cherished. If you like the sound of this, please consider joining us as a member.
This project would not be possible without the support of the Shropshire Mammal Group.