A 4-year-old project effected in collaboration with the Forestry Commission on the North York Moors has finally captured one of the rarest animals in England on camera. The elusive pine marten was finally photographed in the North York Moors. It was last seen around 35 years back in Yorkshire. Ecologist Cath Bashford said it was great to finally have a definite sighting.
The pine marten had once thrived in the northern part of England. Scientists are studying to discover further about their existence inside the undisturbed areas in New Forest National Park. There was more pine marten than previously estimated, according to conservationist Marcus Ward.
The pine marten is a carnivorous mammal and belongs to the weasel family, and are about the size of a cat. They are elusive and haven’t been sighted since 1982. A pine marten skull was discovered way back in 1993.
Pine Martens Came To England After The Last Ice Age
The pine marten first arrived in the British Isles 10,000 years back after the last ice age. They were once the second most common carnivore with a number close to 150,000.
The pine martens bear a resemblance to stoats and ferrets but are larger. The adults reach lengths close to 2 feet. They are chestnut brown and have a unique bib-like yellow section on their throat and chin. They are extremely elusive and make dens in the higher reaches of trees, hunting only at night.
Ward said that he caught sight of the pine marten just once after 600 hours of patient survey work. Sarah Oakley of Forestry England believes the policy of minimal intrusion in the ancient woodlands of New Forest has contributed to the survival of the elusive creature.
The old oak trees and their cracks, crevices, and rot holes are ideal spots for nesting. It is necessary to let the natural process take over.
Further, studies will be carried out to determine the exact population by a group from Hampshire’s The New Forest Study Group, Forestry England, Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and the Wild New Forest. Local expertise will also be sought.
The rare creatures play a vital part in the New Forest ecosystem. They help in controlling the population of the grey squirrel which damages the forest.