A project to bolster the pine marten population is kicking off in the southwest of England with the release of 18 of the animals in the Forest of Dean.
Project Pine Marten hopes to combat the dwindling species' numbers by re-establishing the population in the Forest of Dean, following a successful attempt in Wales. Pine martens used to be rife in the English countryside but as a result of the loss of woodland and hunting, they've become at risk of extinction in both England and Wales. This awful quality video from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has a few more details on the project's plans.
Pine martens from Scotland have been fitted with tracking collars and released in the Forest of Dean and lower Wye Valley, with the location having the feasibility to support 200 of the creatures. Because of the various geographical barriers, the (hopefully) growing population are expected to expand to the west and north, towards the already-established pine marten population in Wales. We're rooting for these furry critters, even if they do like the odd nibble on a grey squirrel - although they're an invasive species that shafted the red squirrel, so I think they're fair game. [BBC News]
Feature image credit: Terry Whittaker/2020 Vision