We had record attendance at Thursdays Pine Marten talk at CARAD in Rhayader, with 58 attendees in total.The talk gave a comprehensive insight into the Vincent Wildlife Trusts Pine Marten project, which has seen 20 Scottish Martens translocated to Ceredigion during 2015. David Bavin and Hugh Denman gave details of the great science involved in ensuring the most suitable location was chosen, and how the translocation process was designed vigorously in order to give the project every chance of succeeding. Details were also given of how the animals are being tracked in order to ensure they are settling down in their new territories. Data collected will potentially help inform further translocations in the future. A real bonus of the project is the potential positive impact the translocation may have on other species – notably the Red Squirrel, still found in very small numbers in some parts of central Wales. Scientific research, particularly in Ireland, suggests that Pine Martens could provide a more sustainable and effective method of controlling Grey Squirrels, replacing the expensive and ineffective ‘vermin control’ methods of old.
Perhaps in the future we may see both Pine Marten and Red Squirrel being added to our local wildlife population. Pine Martens are nocturnal and particularly difficult to find and watch in the field, but wouldn’t it be great if one day the improvement in biodiversity leads to Red Squirrels becoming a regular sighting on the feeders at the Elan Valley visitor centre…….