Dormouse reintroduction day 2018
Dormouse Reintroduction Day 2018
On the 14th June we released 39 dormice in a woodland in Warwickshire as part of the Natural England Species Recovery Programme. The release was a big day for the dormice and everyone involved in the release – and it all went according plan!
Sadly hazel dormice have become extinct from 17 English counties since the end of the 19th century, with populations thought to have fallen by a third since 2000 – a rate of decline equivalent to 55% over 25 years. Loss of woodland and hedgerow habitat, as well as changes to traditional countryside management practices, are all factors which have caused this decline. Reintroductions play an important role in the long-term conservation of this endangered species and are part of the Species Recovery Programme supported by Natural England. This is our 27th dormouse reintroduction. Over the last 25 years, more than 900 dormice have been released at 23 different sites.
Update – July 2018
All the dormice released are captive bred and so to prepare them for their life in the wild we tend to fatten them up a bit in captivity to give them a head start in their new home. On the 14th when they were first put in the wood the average weight of the dormice was 23.6g. Ten days later when the cages were opened the weights had dropped to an average of 20.11g. This is closer to the weights of wild dormice in June which is about 16.8g – perhaps they know that they need to be lean and agile to survive!
The volunteers will continue to provide food for the dormice throughout the summer . The next check will be in September so we will see how they are faring then.