Thought extinct, surprise find of pine marten in Wales

‘Extinct’ animal turns up in Wales as roadside carcass proves elusive pine martins still exist in UK – The Independent.

One of Britain’s rarest and most elusive animals has been found in Wales, after a hunt lasting more than 40 years – the pine marten.

A tree-climbing relative of the otter and the stoat, the pine marten had become extinct throughout much of Britain by the early 20th century, although numbers of the animal survived in Scotland.

But in Wales its continued existence has been problematic and no sight has been made of the animal, living or dead, since a carcass was found in 1971.

Now, however, a carcass of a pine marten which had been killed by a vehicle has been found on the roadside near Newtown in Powys, and DNA analysis has confirmed that the young male was a native British animal.

The article notes the animals were in Scotland. There is no mention if there were sightings in the north of England. So, I am not sure if it makes sense to assume a possibility that the animals repopulated from Scotland or if small populations remained from the original. But this is very interesting.

Pine marten (a member of the weasel family)

  5 comments for “Thought extinct, surprise find of pine marten in Wales

  1. November 8, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Definitely interesting! I hope they’re able to identify and protect whatever individuals are still left.

  2. November 9, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    The Vincent Wildlife Trust is not suggesting that pine martens have populated Wales by travelling from Scotland but that relict Welsh populations are still in existence originating from a larger population that was once widespread throughout Britain (before they became very scarce in Wales and retreated to a few, probably remote locations).

  3. garethl
    November 9, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    I’m not sure where the suggestion that this might indicate a recolonisation from Scotland comes from, it’s hugely unlikely though.

    I’m delighted with this.

  4. garethl
    November 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    The suggestion, and it’s the first time I’ve heard it, is raised in the commentary paragraph, not by the article, or the Vincent Wildlife Trust or anywhere else that I can find. I was just curious as to where it originated.

  5. Rand
    November 9, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Well, if all they find is a dead one on the side of the road, that is no guarantee that there is a live population of wild ones in the area. It could have been someone’s pet that fell out a car window or something. Or some upper crust hunter imported one from Scotland so he could “hunt” it. When they spot a population of live ones in the wild, then they have more of a story.

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