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Pine martens in Mid Wales

Pine marten numbers in England and Wales have dropped significantly. We are helping to return this creature to our forests. Some ideal places have been identified in Wales but for this project to work it needs the full support of local communities.

The problem

Pine martens were once widespread throughout Britain and Ireland. Tragically due to persecution in the past their numbers have now dwindled and they are only found in northern Britain and Ireland. Once regarded as a pest, especially on large estates, pine martens were trapped in order to stop them preying on game birds.

In order to return this delightful creature to its former range, we are supporting the Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) in its bid to bring them back to Wales. Although there are intermittent sightings of martens across England and Wales, systematic studies have shown that there are no viable long-term populations left in the area and that we must step in and help if we’d like to see these beautiful animals in our woodlands once again.

The solution

In 2014 VWT carried out a feasibility study to see if there were sufficient large woodland areas to support these animals once again. As a result of this study, carefully selected areas of mid Wales have been prioritised in which pine marten releases can be carried out.

But in order for this project to be successful, VWT need to ensure that the local people are supportive. So, with our funds, VWT are going to carry out a consultation and engagement programme this year. They will involve landowners and the general public in open dialogue on all the relevant issues. This will address any potential conflict issues that might arise such as predation on game or fowl or disturbance in buildings. A solutions-based approach with community participation will follow, with a specific goal being the development of guidelines for landowners, with their input.

Together we will ensure that pine martens can flourish together with people once more.

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