Pine Martens became extinct in the South West in the 1880s and are very rare in England although they are doing well in Scotland and have recenty been reintroduced in Wales and the Forest of Dean. In 2021, a study completed by the Vincent Wildlife Trust (with support from Natural England) identified the South West as a suitable area for Pine Marten reintroduction in England.
Last month the Project held workshops to discuss the proposal with different stakeholder groups, including farmers, landowners and foresters. The Exmoor Society collated some of their responses and sent them to the Two Moors Project partners (view our response here). Although there was great enthusiasm for nature recovery at the workshops, there were also many concerns at the prospect of this reintroduction, ranging from the impact of a new predator on vulnerable species such as bats and ground nesting birds, to the conflict protection of pine martens would create with the squirrel control necessary for woodland restoration.
To assist in their research, the Two Moors Project have funded the University of Exeter to complete two studies to further understand the different perspectives on Pine Marten reintroduction. For stakeholders, there is still time to participate in the in-person study. More information is available here.
We thoroughly recommend becoming involved as results will directly impact the future of Exmoor wildlife.
Image: Devon Wildlife Trust