Pine Marten making a comeback in Mid and East Antrim

maurice flynn pine marten creditMid and East Antrim Borough Council along with ‘citizen scientists’ from the council area and  members of the  Glens Red Squirrel Group have been working with scientists from Quercus (QUB), over the last few months to help survey woodlands in the Mid and East Antrim Area for red squirrels, grey squirrels and pine marten.  The survey was part of a wider Northern Ireland survey funded through the NIEL Challenge Fund and involved over 80 “citizen scientists” from across the country visiting 160 locations to look for these woodland inhabitants.

Locally, there has been good information gathered on the presence and distribution of the two squirrel species and pine marten has been detected in areas where they were not previously recorded.  Council Biodiversity Officer Maurice Turley commented “It is very positive for the biodiversity of Mid and east Antrim that we have recorded pine martens coming back to areas where they previously would have inhabited, and we hope to put this information to good use, to help conserve our most vulnerable wildlife such as the Red Squirrel.”

The information collected by the volunteers will contribute to a wider project looking at the conservation status of pine marten in Northern Ireland.  This project has indicated that pine marten numbers have been increasing in various parts of the country thanks to the help of the citizen scientists. This information has added importance now that increasing pine marten numbers in the Republic of Ireland have been linked to the decline of grey squirrels.  Therefore its recovery may be good for our once declining red squirrel.

If you would like more information on the project you can contact the Mid and East Antrim Borough Biodiversity Officer on 0300 1245000 or email maurice.turley@midandeastantrim.gov.uk and you can visit Quercus’ Facebook page or email Dr Dave Tosh (d.tosh@qub.ac.uk)

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