Today I am hugely excited to share what I think is probably the most exciting local wildlife news for many a year. Wild pine martens have been discovered in the New Forest!
Until recently it was thought that pine martens were extinct in England but there have been recent reports of animals seen in Cornwall and Shropshire. They’ve now been seen no more than 10 kilometres from the middle of Southampton.
The discovery began with over 20 New Forest pine marten sightings being reported to the Hampshire Mammal Group since 2010. There was no photo evidence or other evidence like scats or roadkill but this changed when the Wild New Forest initiative managed to catch pine martens on their camera traps.
It is thought the pine marten population is very low and as pine martens are slow breeders this is unlikely to change any time soon. The Wild New Forest team are now expanding their surveys to see how many pine martens are living in the New Forest and whether there could be a sustainable population.