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First pine marten discovered on Anglesey in over 30 years

12 Jul 2022 3 minute read
Photo Bangor University

A rare pine marten has been photographed on Anglesey.

This is the first confirmed sighting on the island in over thirty years of intensive wildlife monitoring.

A team of Bangor University researchers made the discovery whilst undertaking research on the islands nationally important red squirrel population. Dr Simon Valle, Dr Graeme Shannon and Dr Craig Shuttleworth had established a network of cameras in different types of woodland across Anglesey to monitor local red squirrel abundance.

The ground-breaking project was funded by Natural Resources Wales in an attempt to better understand which woodland habitats are optimal for red squirrels and how changes to forest management may affect their numbers.

Trawling through over 15,000 images of red squirrels, great tits and other forest birds collected this spring, the researchers came across a sequence of three images of a pine marten pictured in the bright spring sunshine.

Very exciting

Dr Graeme Shannon said: “After working my way through a few hundred great tit photos – seemingly the same individual hopping back and forth – I was thrilled to suddenly come across three clear images of a curious pine marten looking back at the camera. A species that until recently was extremely rare in Wales. An unexpected but very exciting discovery.”

Pine martens were released near Bangor in the period 2018-20 as part of the ‘Gwynedd Pine Marten project’ and scientists have very occasional photographic evidence of individuals in Faenol woodland near the Britannia railway bridge.

There have also been anecdotal reports of animals close to Holyhead, fuelling suspicion that perhaps an animal may have stowed away on an incoming ferry from Ireland where the species is abundant.

In addition, 51 pine martens were released in Mid Wales in 2015-2017 to help boost numbers and some of these animals have been sighted more than 50km from the release site.

Pine martens are medium-sized predators weighing 1.5-2kg. They can climb trees well and have a diet that includes bird’s eggs, forest fruits, tree berries, small rodents and occasionally red and grey squirrels. They live in very low numbers and are often very elusive, but recent research has shown that they can play a critical role in controlling the invasive grey squirrel.

Dr Simon Valle said: “It’s encouraging to see that even on an island with such low tree cover, local forests still hold the potential for witnessing the return of a charismatic species such as the pine marten. Maybe our forests are, or can be, much wilder than we often think.”

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Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas
1 year ago

Lovely to see them back I hope a mate can be found for him/her

1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Thomas

Most welcome. Beats having an additional Tory turn up on Yr Ynys !.

1 year ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I ceased voting Tory a long time ago, but please remember being Tory is not the same as being evil. I know a number of people who vote Tory in spite of BloJo and his cabal. In the 1970’s certain unions showed just hope easy it is for a very small group (in their case of the extreme left). This is what has happened to the Tory Party. In the 1960’s working people could align with the Tories. There was even an organisation for Conservative shop stewards

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill

Your vote is confirmation that you approve of and agree with a parties policies, that includes the racist, homophobic and money laundering, along with the tax breaks, the tories never have represented the working man, you’re deluding yourself if you think that. If they represented the working man/woman they would cut taxes on earned income and put up corporate tax and increase tax on all unearned income, like rent and shares, investments, and close down all the offshore accounts they allow to operate. It is not the 60s or 70s the world has moved on, and due to mostly tory… Read more »

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