News | News Archive | Pine martens in Wales – another successful year

15th June 2017

The rarest mammal in Wales has just become a little less rare with at least five pine martens giving birth this year – and one marten is known to have a litter of three kits.

 

The Vincent Wildlife Trust’s Pine Marten Recovery Project aims to restore a viable pine marten population to Wales and England. Over the last two years 39 martens have been brought from Scotland, where they are thriving, to mid-Wales where they are on the verge of extinction.

The kits born to the 2016 tranche of females will have been conceived in Scotland. What is particularly exciting this year is that at least one female brought to Wales in 2015 has given birth. This is evidence that martens are now breeding successfully in Wales; a huge boost for the project” said Natalie Buttriss the Trust’s CEO.

The pine martens are all radio-tracked during their first year, to monitor their movements. From March onwards, radio-tracking of females is ramped up a gear so that the denning sites of any breeding females can be located. Remote cameras help this process of detective work.

Monitoring the females this year has been challenging. Some are helpfully using artificial den boxes erected by the Trust, while others have chosen less accessible, natural den sites such as high tree cavities on steep slopes!

Pine marten and kits at a den box in Wales © Huw Denman

The pine martens have all been taken from Forestry Commission Scotland land under licence from Scottish Natural Heritage and relocated in woodland owned by Natural Resources Wales. Up to a further 20 animals will be relocated from Scotland to Wales this autumn. This total should result in a self-sustaining marten population that over time will spread to other forests of Wales and across the border into England. Without this helping hand, it is likely that this native mammal would simply disappear from the Welsh landscape.

Find out how you can support the Pine Marten Recovery Project here.