Pine Martens

CygnusRex

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Martens Not extinct

'Extinct' pine marten in comeback

'Credible' sightings have prompted efforts to track the pine marten

The pine marten - declared extinct in England a decade ago - is making a comeback in North Yorkshire, wildlife experts believe.
New sightings on the edge of the North York Moors have prompted the Forestry Commission to set out feeding tubes to collect hair samples for DNA analysis.

They hope that bait - including the mammal's favourite jam sandwiches - will lure the animals into the tubes.

Once common in England, the animals were driven away by Victorian trappers.

The Forestry Commission has teamed up with the Moors National Park, Hull University and local conservationists to find conclusive evidence that pine martens have ventured south from their refuge in the Scottish highlands.

Brian Walker, Forestry Commission biodiversity officer, said: "My gut feeling is that we do have pine martens in this part of North Yorkshire.

"Over the years we've had many sightings, some cases of mistaken identity, but others very convincing.

"One of these came in July when an experienced ornithologist and wildlife photographer saw a creature matching the description of a pine marten."

If their presence in Yorkshire is confirmed, forestry workers will attempt to manage woodland to suit the ferret-like animals' needs.

Clearly numbers are small and the creature may be clinging onto existence

Wildlife trust spokesman Johnny Birks

As well as 100 feeding tubes, they have erected 10 den boxes in an area of forest near Osmotherley to encourage breeding.

The efforts have been prompted by what the Forestry Commission say are "highly credible recent sightings" by local wildlife experts.

It is believed the animals have returned because large areas of forest planted after the First World War have now reached maturity, providing new habitats which had been lost.

Johnny Birks, of the Vincent Wildlife Trust, said: "I'm reasonably confident we do have martens in the Moors, but it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

"Clearly numbers are small and the creature may be clinging onto existence."

Source
 

CuriousIdent

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Jam sandwich traps for pine martens

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1152090.html

A hundred jam sandwiches have been hidden in remote forests in an attempt to catch a mammal believed to have been extinct in England for 100 years.

Scientists will discreetly monitor the traps, squashed into plastic feeding tubes, for hairs and other DNA traces of pine martens.

Local naturalists have logged 35 suspected marten sightings on the densely-wooded fringes of the North York Moors since 1990.

None were conclusive but an experienced wildlife photographer has given an accurate description of a marten which triggered the new move.

"We think that most of the 35 reports were probably mistaken identity, but some were very convincing," said Brian Walker, of the Forestry Commission.

"It could be that there's always been a presence in this area, but we feel it's more likely that they are recolonising from Scotland, where colonies are well-known.

"They often travel up to 20 miles a day while foraging and they could have easily worked their way back south."

The traps, which also contain a pine marten dietary favourite, shredded chicken wings, have been devised by biologists at Hull University and local wildlife groups.
 
A

Anonymous

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Hmmmm. I live quite close to North Yorkshire (Lancashire) and I was aware that Marten numbers had declined over recent years but I wasn't aware that they had been declaired extinct.
Anyway, I can confirm that they were not made extinct in England 10 years ago at all because I saw one about 4 years ago.
 
A

Anonymous

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Martens are reported to be very rare in Ireland, being confined to the Sliabh Bloom mountains in Laois, the Burren in Co Clare and parts of Kerry. I'm not sure about this at all as in the past few years I have heard reports of two in the Westmeath area, one which was shot by accident (mistaken for a fox) and another found dead on a road. Very elusive creatures, could well be there for years and not seen. Hadn't heard of the jam sandwiches bait before though :)
 
A

Anonymous

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I wonder what caused their numbers to drop so dramatically.
Theoretically, they should do better that their relatives, stoats and weasils because of their larger size (like grey squirrals compaired to red ones) and badgers because they can move a damn sight quicker.
 

Graylien

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For one insane moment I actually thought this thread was about Martians.

I can imagine some baffled hikers wondering why the forest is suddenly full of jam sandwiches!
 

Bullseye

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Stoats and weasels move very quick,not many people see them but there are plenty about (often see them),martens I would think move about the same speed,but because of their larger size would need a bigger territory so would be covering a larger area and thus not seen so much,I've said it before that most people walk around with their eyes half closed.
 

tattooted

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Trying to find animals that attack the head, I came across The Beast of Gévaudan and Other "Maulers" an article reprinted from The Cryptozoology Review 1:2, Fall 1996. The author makes a strong case for the Beasts being some sort of mustelid.
Descriptions varied widely, but most agreed that it was wolf-like, though nearly the size of a cow. Its chest was wide, its tail long and thin with a lion-like tuft of fur at its end. Its snout was like that of a greyhound, and large fangs protruded from its formidable jaws. The beast was believed to be incredibly agile - it was credited with taking leaps of up to 30 feet (2). The Paris Gazette, carrying a story about the monster, commented that it was reddish in colour, that its chest was wide and grey, and that the hind legs were longer than the fore legs.

Although the story of the Beast of Gévaudan is doubtless embellished greatly in terms of its size and other features, the facts remain: some sort of large creature was ravaging the district, killing people more often than livestock. The beast seems to have had a definite preference for attacking victims around the head, oftentimes crushing the skull and eating the entrails. Wounds of this type were also displayed by victims of a similar creature which prowled Limerick, Ireland, more than a century later.
Does anyone else know anything about the Ireland reference?

Excerpt from The Beast of Gévaudan and Other "Maulers" continued:
Mustelids are fearless animals, attacking nearly anything they feel they have even a chance of bringing down. The wolverine and many other members of the family have a preference for either lying in ambush in a tree and jumping upon a victim's head, or leaping at the victim's throat.

One species in particular, the pine marten (Martes martes), fits many characteristics of maulers almost perfectly. The pine marten is a small, weasel-like animal (barely bigger than an average house cat) that preys on rodents and birds, occasionally eating eggs or fruit. The pine marten is unusually agile, living most of its life in trees. It has a dark brown, almost black, colour and a cream-coloured patch around the throat. Most reports of maulers are from areas within the pine marten's range, and it would leave "clawed-cat"-type tracks. (One difference, however, is that martens are nocturnal while most maulers seem to be diurnal; however, this detail is a relatively minor one.)

I am not proposing that maulers are pine martens in the strictest sense; pine martens are far too unimpressive. There may be a subspecies, however, that co-exists with its substantially smaller conspecifics, which would account for sightings of maulers and accounts of their depredations.
 

ramonmercado

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Skye pine martens branching out

A pine marten. Picture courtesy of Lorne Gill/Scottish Natural Heritage
A species of wild animal which used the Skye Bridge to cross from the mainland to the island has spread faster than expected, experts believe.
Pine martens first arrived on Skye shortly after the bridge opened in 1995, according to Roger Cottis of the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

He said the population had spread nine miles (15km) south and west from territory near the bridge.

The pine marten is a member of the weasel family.

Mr Cottis, who is an independent wildlife consultant, said tree felling may have forced the animal's spread.

On Skye there could be potential for changes. It will be something we will be monitoring

Roger Cottis

He said: "Forestry extraction has pushed them out of territory within woodland and that has increased their expansion."

Mr Cottis said it had not yet been possible to estimate the size of the population.

Pine martens can swim but strong currents in the sea between Skye and the mainland meant they were not seen on the island until the bridge was constructed, said Mr Cottis.

He added: "They are a predatory animal. Certain birds and small animals are vulnerable and there will be an impact.

"On the mainland, the birds and animals have come to terms with the pine martins' presence - there is an equilibrium.

"But on Skye there could be potential for changes. It will be something we will be monitoring."

A survey of martens on Balmacara Estate on Kyle of Lochalsh, across the sea from Skye, found an estimated population of about 48 animals.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scot ... 470777.stm
 

rynner2

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Longish article here:

Tufty's saviour to the rescue
Pine marten numbers swell, killing off the grey interlopers who ousted the red squirrel
By Jeremy Watson

THEY have been vilified as a pest, persecuted for centuries and hunted for their fur.

But now one of Scotland's native animals is attracting a new body of support for its role as a potential saviour of the red squirrel.

The pine marten, a small mammal once prolific throughout the country's woodlands, only existed in remote pockets in the far north of Scotland a century ago.

As it has spread south again, however, it has come into contact with American grey squirrels which are taking over the territory of the native reds, now a threatened species.

Forestry researchers have now found that where the two species have moved on to the same ground, grey squirrel numbers have gone into reverse.

They believe that carnivorous pine martens prey on greys, which, unlike reds, mainly forage for food on the forest floor. But they are unable to catch the faster, lighter native species, which normally inhabit the treetops.

They are now calling for habitats for pine martens to be created to help stop the invasion of the greys in its tracks. Red squirrels are now one of Scotland's most endangered species, largely due to the bigger, more aggressive greys moving into their former territory.

The pine marten effect has been observed in woodlands in Perthshire, near Pitlochry and Aberfeldy, and published in a paper for the journal of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society.

Rob Coope, the Forestry Commission's Tayside region biodiversity manager, said: "Pine martens are opportunistic animals who will exploit any new food source that moves into their territory.

"Grey squirrels are a big threat to red squirrels, but what we have noticed is that in areas where pine martens are active, grey numbers go down and they almost disappear.

"Their march up the country has been pretty relentless, but in these areas it had been halted.

"We tried to think of reasons for this happening, and the theory is that expanding pine marten populations come up against expanding grey squirrel populations. Colleagues in Ireland feel they have seen the same thing happening."

Coope suggests that the answer to why pine martens hunt greys rather than reds is that the American invader mainly hunts for its food at ground level.

"We know that pine martens feed mainly on the ground and we know that greys spend more time on the ground than reds," he said.

"Reds tend to be in the treetops eating seeds from pine cones, whereas greys will run around on the forest floor looking for acorns and beech nuts. That's when they come into contact with pine martens.

"So it may be that in areas that are poor habitats for grey squirrels, pine marten predation tips the balance in favour of the red."

Pine martens, which grow to the size of an adult cat with a bushy tail, are part of the weasel family of animals, native to Northern Europe. Its fur is usually light to dark brown and grows longer and silkier during the winter months. It has a cream to yellow-coloured 'bib' marking on its throat.

more...
http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Tuf ... 3628352.jp
 

ramonmercado

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Pine marten sightings in Wales investigated
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-18267013

Pine martens are thought to exist in parts of Wales, including Snowdonia and areas near Aberystwyth

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Reported sightings of pine martens - a creature thought to be extinct in Wales - are being investigated.

The animal, part of the weasel family, was once common in the UK, but persecution and a loss of habitat led to its decline.

The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) has received more than 40 unconfirmed sightings of pine martens, one of the UK's rarest animals, in the past week.

The VWT's work was touched on by BBC's Springwatch earlier this week.

Pine martens are about the size of a domestic cat, and are a protected species.

The BBC's Springwatch, which is based at Ynys Hir Nature Reserve in Ceredigion, has been following up sightings of the animal.

The VWT said it was going through reports of 50 sightings, 40 of them in Wales, in light of the programme's coverage of the animal.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

We've no idea how many there are in Wales, but there is evidence they are persisting in small parts of Wales”

Lizzie Croose
The Vincent Wildlife Trust

The trust said pine marten numbers had grown in Scotland in recent years, but they had not recovered in Wales and England.

But it believes the animal does exist in Wales in Snowdonia, the Cambrian Mountains, in areas around Aberystwyth, and parts of Carmarthenshire.

The VWT's Lizzie Croose said research by the People's Trust for Endangered Species in the 1990s concluded that the pine marten was extinct in Wales.

"We've been working on pine martens in England, Wales and Scotland for about 15 years," she said.

"More recently, we've been working on a project called mammals in a sustainable environment, which has been examining why they are not recovering in Wales like they are in Scotland.


Pine martens were thought to be extinct in Wales

"We've no idea how many there are in Wales, but there is evidence they are persisting in small parts of Wales.

"Research by the People's Trust for Endangered Species in the 1990s couldn't find evidence of pine martens in Wales and declared them extinct in the country."

Ms Croose said the trust collected sightings of the animals and, over the years, had looked for droppings in the countryside.

"The last time we found pine marten droppings was in the Rheidol Valley, near Aberystwyth, in 2007," she said.

"We've had reports of a few sightings in the area around Aberystwyth and in parts of Snowdonia and Carmarthenshire."

'Kill game birds'

Ms Croose said there could be a few reasons why the animals were not recovering in Wales.

"It might be that numbers are so low in Wales that pine martens are not meeting to breed," she added.

"Perhaps the high level of fox numbers, (which attack pine martens), could be having an impact. There is research to show that pine martins have a similar diet to foxes and are attacked by foxes because of competition for food.

"Habitat destruction over the years could have also played a part, while years ago pine martens were persecuted because they were known to kill game birds and take their eggs. They were also killed for their fur."
 

oldrover

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in Wales that pine martens are not meeting to breed," she added
.

That makes sense to me, I live in the same habitat and I'm in the same boat.

I'd love to believe this, and there's been talk about it for years. No solid evidence yet though that I'm aware of, but not the maddest hope to have either.
 

amyasleigh

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If I'm right, Wales is the British great stronghold of the polecat -- the pine marten's fellow-rare-in-Britain mustelid.

I presume, and hope, that polecats and pine martens are too far apart taxonomically, to interbreed; but one hears numerous rather surprising and alarming "threatened extinction by interbreeding" stories nowadays.

On a different tack -- on the "Red Squirrels" thread on this sub-forum, a post by rynner on p4 there, mentions a scenario of a pine-marten presence being good for red squirrels in Britain, threatened by the invading bigger and tougher grey squirrel. One learns that the pine marten concentrates on preying on the grey squirrel, which mainly forages for food on the forest floor. The red squirrel mostly doesn't -- does its thing in the tree-tops: there, it's faster and lighter than the pine marten, which has a poor chance of catching red squirrels.

As a partisan of our native "reds" -- I'd say, in regions where they still exist at all: bring on the pine martens !
 

oldrover

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So then a reasonably large carnivore pops up again after many years of supposed extinction. Witnesses have been seeing and reporting them, but despite the sustained searches none had turned up for 41 years. Until one tried head butting a car outside Welshpool.

Pine marten carcass in Powys first in Wales since 1971

A dead pine marten has been found in Newtown, Powys, the first carcass reported in Wales since 1971.

Experts say it provides important evidence that the rare protected mammal still exists in Wales.

The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) has investigated hundreds of reports of sighting of the animal - part of the weasel family - in the last 20 years.

"The significance of this find cannot be overstated," said chief executive Natalie Buttriss.

"It adds to the body of evidence supporting the long-held view of mammal experts that this attractive tree-dwelling animal does exist in Wales, but in such low numbers that very few people ever see one."


Aside from the fact that this is great news in itself does it have any relevance to cryptozoology in a wider sense? For example forty one years is eleven longer than the thirty years you have to go back to get to the last reasonably reliable thylacine sighting. Though the Marten is much smaller than the thylacine the areas in question are comparable in terms of accessibility and population density.

Does this show then that people, like myself, are being unduly pessimistic about the chances of other animals having escaped detection. Or does this instance show the opposite, as despite the inaccessibility of the area, its low human population density, the necessarily low number of martens and lack of a body, scat was found and conclusively classified. Or perhaps, as I believe, it has no relevance to the wider question whatsoever.
 

amyasleigh

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Applying to Google, informed me that the Irish Republic also has pine martens: reckoned definitely rare -- estimated 2,700 of them in the country, mostly in the middle of it, and the far west -- unless, as in the North, they've been doing better than the authorities on the subject, had thought !
 
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ramonmercado

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Is there anything more stupid than the government’s plan to kill grey squirrels?

I ask not because I believe – as Animal Aid does – that grey squirrels are harmless. ...

No, I oppose the cull for two reasons. The first is that it’s a total waste of time and money. ...

My second reason for opposing the cull is that there is another way of dealing with grey squirrels, which requires hardly any expense, indeed hardly any human intervention at all. Unlike trapping, shooting or poisoning, it works. It is happening with extreme prejudice in Ireland at the moment.

There is a scientific term for this method. Pine martens.

http://www.theguardian.com/environm...-squirrels-without-firing-a-shot-pine-martens
 
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amyasleigh

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Dratted wild creatures, with this thing of theirs for brake-fluid...

There's a marvellous YouTube video somewhere around -- I lack the time right now, to hunt for it -- of a football match between two towns in Switzerland being interrupted by a pine marten running onto, and around, the pitch.
 

amyasleigh

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Thanks, FA. We Brits of our country's mostly duller south-and-east have to feel: lucky people of Continental Europe, seemingly with pine martens at the bottom of your garden...
 

JamesWhitehead

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There are accounts of pine martens chewing through brake-cables in order to enjoy the glycol-laced fluid. It was a learned behaviour that quickly spread in the Black Forest iirc. In the UK, I think squirrels took to the same practice. :psych:
 
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CALGACUS03

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I saw this article some time ago and forgot to post it. My apologies if it's already been posted elsewhere.

It's interesting that there seems to be a way to both naturally combat (and reverse) the spread of the Grey Squirrel and also encourage the spread of the previously endangered Pine Marten in one fell swoop.

Return of pine martens could save Britain's red squirrels, say scientists

Areas with growing pine marten populations have seen grey squirrel numbers fall as they provide easy prey for the predators – unlike native reds, a new study shows

From the above article:

Adrian Vass, at the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, welcomed the new pine marten evidence ...
 
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Paul_Exeter

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2006: A cryptozoologist in Devon is widely ridiculed for suggesting the pine marten is still present in the county and the wider South of England despite being presumed 'functionally extinct' in England:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smaller-Mystery-Carnivores-Westcountry/dp/1905723059

2016: Pine martens found in Devon:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/pine-marten-devon-rare-found-3009872

... and not just Devon:

https://www.forestryengland.uk/blog/the-return-pine-martens-englands-forests
 
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Stillill

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2006: A cryptozoologist in Devon is widely ridiculed for suggesting the pine marten is still present in the county and the wider South of England despite being presumed 'functionally extinct' in England:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smaller-Mystery-Carnivores-Westcountry/dp/1905723059

2016: Pine martens found in Devon:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/pine-marten-devon-rare-found-3009872

... and not just Devon:

https://www.forestryengland.uk/blog/the-return-pine-martens-englands-forests
Me and a work colleague both saw a pine marten while on delivery in Northwood,Middlesex in the early 2000’s. He had stopped to chat to me in the van and as we were talking a pine marten came walking along the pavement.
I strongly suspect it had escaped from somewhere as it showed no fear of us. It actually came towards me within a couple of feet then just carried on walking.
 
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Paul_Exeter

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Me and a work colleague both saw a pine marten while on delivery in Northwood,Middlesex in the early 2000’s. He had stopped to chat to me in the van and as we were talking a pine marten came walking along the pavement.
I strongly suspect it had escaped from somewhere as it showed no fear of us. It actually came towards me within a couple of feet then just carried on walking.
I think Lord Mongrove as a zoologist might be the best person to provide insight into your experience, however as the pine marten is nocturnal can you be certain it wasn't a stoat...?

https://www.vwt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/MustelidLeaflet.pdf

I say this as my understanding is that pine martens are difficult to keep in captivity and require a large wooded enclosure:

https://zoolex.org/gallery/show/898/

"The Otter Center set itself a goal of exhibiting native Mustelidae species and their habitats. An existing forested area with trees of varying sizes was selected for the pine marten exhibit.

Two individuals are held because pine martens are aggressive and territorial toward others of their species. Sometimes establishing permanent pairs is successful.

Pine martens have a need to move around a lot. Small enclosures therefore can result in behavioral problems such as stereotypic movements. Therefore, the pine marten enclosures at the Otter Center have large surface areas and are structurally complex. They are enclosed by 4-meter high wire mesh fences with 2.5 x 2.5 cm openings. Electrical wires along the interior perimeter prevent animal escapes.

A wooden boardwalk for visitors runs along the upper edge of the perimeter fence. Visitors can access the boardwalk using a ramp located on the east side or stairs located on the north and west sides of the exhibits. The boardwalk extends around both exhibits. A circular path on ground level offers views with a different perspective into the enclosures from the west side and opportunities for interactive play.

Staff can access the service area via a corridor under the boardwalk and double doors. It is here that windowed nest boxes and the electrical supply for the electric wires are located. Tunnels in the maintenance room allow to connect the outdoor enclosures.
"

I have seen wild stoats during the day and you can get surprisingly close to them
 

Stillill

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I think Lord Mongrove as a zoologist might be the best person to provide insight into your experience, however as the pine marten is nocturnal can you be certain it wasn't a stoat...?

https://www.vwt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/MustelidLeaflet.pdf

I say this as my understanding is that pine martens are difficult to keep in captivity and require a large wooded enclosure:

https://zoolex.org/gallery/show/898/

"The Otter Center set itself a goal of exhibiting native Mustelidae species and their habitats. An existing forested area with trees of varying sizes was selected for the pine marten exhibit.

Two individuals are held because pine martens are aggressive and territorial toward others of their species. Sometimes establishing permanent pairs is successful.

Pine martens have a need to move around a lot. Small enclosures therefore can result in behavioral problems such as stereotypic movements. Therefore, the pine marten enclosures at the Otter Center have large surface areas and are structurally complex. They are enclosed by 4-meter high wire mesh fences with 2.5 x 2.5 cm openings. Electrical wires along the interior perimeter prevent animal escapes.

A wooden boardwalk for visitors runs along the upper edge of the perimeter fence. Visitors can access the boardwalk using a ramp located on the east side or stairs located on the north and west sides of the exhibits. The boardwalk extends around both exhibits. A circular path on ground level offers views with a different perspective into the enclosures from the west side and opportunities for interactive play.

Staff can access the service area via a corridor under the boardwalk and double doors. It is here that windowed nest boxes and the electrical supply for the electric wires are located. Tunnels in the maintenance room allow to connect the outdoor enclosures.
"

I have seen wild stoats during the day and you can get surprisingly close to them
It was definitely a pine marten ,significantly bigger than a stoat and the man I was talking to recognised it as a pine marten straight away.
 

Paul_Exeter

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I feel the fact that pine martens reestablished themselves in the New Forest, supposedly hundreds of miles away from their last remaining northern strongholds suggests officials aren't that good/bothered at identifying what's out there and probably ignore legitimate witnesses until eventually some camera trap footage forces them to show some interest.

https://www.forestryengland.uk/news/pine-martens-return-the-south-england
 
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Paul_Exeter

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However, it now seems the pine marten has been existing quietly in the South and West of Britain whilst officially extinct from those areas. It is only now with improved camera traps that evidence strong enough to convince the authorities has been presented. This is in spite of amateur naturalist knowing of their presence all the while:

"The pine marten, one of Britain's rarest and most elusive mammals, is back - and the reason is it never quite went away. A new report reveals pine martens are not confined to the fringes of the UK as was assumed, but that they have been living a secret life under our noses for decades."

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/2010/06/pine-martens-make-comeback-in-uk-after.html

But this is still not enough evidence for the authorities...
 
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