raised of £10000.00 target
by 98 supporters

Time is running out for the pine marten!

We must act now to save the beautiful, but critically endangered pine marten

The European pine marten was once widespread in the UK. Sadly, centuries of persecution (including poisoning and hunting for their furs) and the gradual disappearance of suitable habitat, has led this beautiful animal to the brink of extinction in Britain. 

Whilst the population of pine marten are recovering in Scotland and Ireland, only very small populations remain in England and Wales. As a result, the pine marten has been identified as a UK priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, highlighting it as a species that is seriously under threat and in desperate need of immediate conservation.

No matter how much you can spare, it will make a huge difference for the pine marten, so don't delay please donate today!

Wildwood Trust leading in pine marten captive breeding

Having a good understanding of pine marten ecology and breeding behaviour is very important for any future reintroductions. Unfortunately, pine martens are very difficult to breed in captivity, but thanks to the expertise of Wildwood’s keeper team, we are one of the most successful captive breeders of pine marten in Britain. 

Due to their complex breeding behaviour careful observation needs to be made as new animals are paired. To allow more natural behaviour, in 2006 Wildwood’s keeper team came up with a unique design, linking the pine marten territories (enclosures) by a series of tunnels that could be opened and closed as required, mimicking the territories they would have naturally in the wild.

Thanks to this ingenious design our pine martens first mated successfully in summer 2009. They have a delayed implantation period of up to 210 days to enable offspring to be born at the best time of year for survival, which meant our first kit was born at Wildwood in spring 2010. 

How can you make a difference?

Wildwood is very proud of our achievements to date in pine marten conservation, having successfully bred twelve pine marten in captivity, but we urgently need your help to replace Wildwood’s facilities for breeding them. The existing breeding enclosures have become severely degraded over time and are desperately in need of a complete rebuild to continue this vital work.

Your donation will help us to rebuild the enclosures, giving us the opportunity to build on our current knowledge and ensure a continued successful breeding programme. We will refine the tunnel system and build a range of specially designed nesting boxes to encourage them to breed. A camera system will be installed within the tunnels and nest boxes giving us the unique opportunity of monitoring the pine marten breeding 24 hours a day without causing them any undue, unnecessary stress or disturbance. Our aspiration is to include a research area within the new enclosures to allow ongoing research into the diet of pine marten enabling us to share this information with other conservation organisations in the future.

In addition, we also need to source and introduce new pine martens to those already at Wildwood to improve our breeding programme further. A widely varied gene pool is vital to ensure successful breeding of healthy pine marten in captivity and this will massively increase their chances of being able to recover their numbers in the long term. Importing new animals can be a very expensive process with high transportation costs and vets bills, so your donation really will help us achieve so much more.

What is a pine marten?

The pine marten is a native British mammal and are now one of the rarest in England. They are a member of the mustelid family, which includes the weasel, stoats, otters and polecats. Pine marten are the size of a small domestic cat with rich brown fur, a creamy yellow bib, prominent rounded ears and a long bushy tail and tend to mainly be nocturnal. Their diet varies greatly and can include small mammals, fruit, birds, insects and carrion. They usually live alone sticking to their own territories, only coming together to breed in summer, making them very difficult to breed in captivity. They like to rest and breed above ground, so create their dens in natural tree cavities or holes created by other creatures. Pine marten poo has a distinctive smell, it is very musky, sweet and fruity, and does not smell unpleasant – it is sometimes compared to damp hay or parma violets!

Did you know?

The pine martens’ recovery in the UK could help to restore the country’s natural balance, as with all native species, the pine marten play an important role in the ecosystem. They disperse seeds, lower the risk of diseases by removing carrion, and could also help manage grey squirrel populations by preying on them, in turn aiding the recovery of the red squirrel.

In some areas where pine marten numbers are recovering their former range, grey squirrel numbers have been decreasing, which in turn is allowing recolonisation of woodland by red squirrels. Studies have found that by reintroducing the pine martens, this could provide a natural way of reducing grey squirrel numbers.

It is understood that red squirrels are small and light enough to scamper to the ends of branches out of reach of hungry pine martens, but the heavier greys are slower and spend more time foraging on the woodland floor, where they are easy prey, this means by helping save the pine martens, we will also be helping the red squirrels to re-establish their populations too.

With your help we can do even more to save them!

If we exceed our target, any additional donations willl be put towards protecting, conserving and rewilding British wildlife. As a charity, Wildwood Trust relies on generous donations and legacies from members of the public. Without the support of yourself and others like you, we would simply not be able to continue our work to protect British wildlife for future generations.

Contact details

Key Contact : Sarah Anstee
Email : appeals@wildwoodtrust.org
Telephone : 01732712111



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