The common or hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) is no longer as widespread or abundant as its name suggests. Its distribution is now limited to the south and west of England, parts of Wales and a few outlying populations in the north of England.
Numbers of this native British mammal have declined significantly during the last century for the following inter-related reasons:
- destruction or fragmentation of suitable habitat by people or domestic stock
- cessation of traditional woodland management practices such as rotational coppicing
- removal or unsympathetic management of hedgerows, which contain important food sources and act as corridors linking woodlands
- clearance of scrubby and shrubby habitats
- the trend towards an unpredictable or unfavourable climate may reduce dormouse survival and breeding success.
We have been undertaking dormouse survey work in west Wales as part of our MISE project.