A road casualty pine marten has been found near Newtown in Powys – the first known carcass in Wales since 1971.
‘The significance of this find cannot be overstated,’ said Natalie Buttriss, Chief Executive with The Vincent Wildlife Trust. ‘It adds to the body of evidence supporting the long-held view of mammal experts that this attractive tree-dwelling animal does exist in Wales, but in such low numbers that very few people ever see one.’
The carcass was found last month by local resident Olly Amy, on the roadside close to the village of Aberhafesp near Newtown. Olly contacted the VWT after correctly identifying it as a pine marten.
DNA analysis carried out at Waterford Institute of Technology has provided unequivocal evidence that this is a pine marten native to the British Isles. The animal was a young male.
In the last 20 years, The Vincent Wildlife Trust has received more than 300 credible reports of sightings of pine martens in Wales and has built up a map of ‘hot spot’ areas. Until today, however, the most recent unequivocal evidence was a pine marten scat (dropping) found in Cwm Rheidol forest in 2007 and later positively DNA tested.
In recent years, the VWT has organised numerous hunts for pine marten scats in the ‘hot spot’ areas, deployed remote cameras and set up baited hair tubes, but despite huge effort by teams of volunteers no unequivocal evidence has been found since 2007 – until now. It is this that makes this find so important.
This find is also particularly timely with the employment later this month of a new VWT Pine Marten Project Officer, funded by The Co-operative and based in mid-Wales. This two-year project illustrates the importance that the VWT places on trying to determine the status of the pine marten in Wales. This will help inform long-term conservation plans to ensure a safe future for this rare native Welsh mammal.
For more information on pine martens, visit our species page.