Project Pine Marten - Project in action

Project Pine Marten

Project in action

 

Terry Whittaker/2020 Vision

Capture, translocation and release

  • Healthy Scottish populations have been identified to ensure they are not impacted as a result of the reintroduction project. A survey of the source populations ensured that the population remains healthy. Licences for this work are granted by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS).
  • Vincent Wildlife Trust lead on the capture of the pine martens, they are the UK experts in pine marten translocations.
  • The pine martens are captured during September, away from breeding seasons, and only adult pine martens are taken.
  • The translocation is overseen by an experienced wildlife veterinarian, taking animal welfare considerations as the highest priority.
  • All the pine martens are microchipped and fitted with a tracking collar.
  • Up to 40 pine martens will be released over two years. Release techniques will be tailored to minimise any stress to the animals.

Monitoring

  • Individual pine martens are closely monitored by radio-collar for up to one year after release. Leather collars will allow the collars to drop off naturally between 6 – 18 months.
  • Over 40 special secure den boxes have been provided – safe warm places where the pine marten can raise their young if they are unable to find suitable natural cavities.
  • The feasibility study identified key areas to locate den boxes for pine martens to raise their young, and will minimise the risk of interference or disturbance, for instance from roads, footpaths, or forestry operations.
  • A camera trapping programme is being used to monitor the population over the longer term, identify new individuals in the area as well as assess the health and body condition of all animals.
  • Scat surveys are undertaken annually in March to survey for pine martens and monitor their expansion across the region.
  • The radio-tracking data collected on pine martens contributes to our understanding of post-translocation movement by martens and their territory formation in the region.
  • As a precautionary measure against pine marten (and other predator) disturbance, maternity roosts of Lesser & Greater horseshoe bats, and bird nest boxes have been installed with predator-proofing where deemed necessary. Monitoring of these sites will continue throughout the project.

Next steps

  • A volunteer group has been established, and continues to expand. Volunteers can assist with monitoring such as camera trap checking and scat collection. If you are interested in volunteering with us please contact us at volunteering@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk
Project timeline

Project timeline

Terry Whittaker