New Forest Pine Marten Project – Spring 2022 Update

Your donation to Love the Forest has enabled a grant of £2,000 to be given to Wild New Forest for surveys on pine marten in the New Forest. It will allow the team to test the feasibility of conducting DNA analysis of pine marten ‘scats’, or droppings, to help determine the number of individual animals present in some areas.

The grant has been match-funded by a Forestry England grant and Wild New Forest staff resource to give an overall total of up to 80 days (600 hours) of fieldwork. The Love the Forest contribution will also support additional research and external engagement activities associated with the project during 2022.

Here’s the latest Pine Marten project update from Wild New Forest and some fantastic footage of these amazing animals:

Fieldwork has commenced for the second year of a project using 30 remote trail cameras to investigate a newly established Pine Marten population in the New Forest.

Building on the promising results obtained in 2021, where nearly 80 Pine Marten records were obtained from four areas on the Crown lands, the cameras are being deployed in a further four areas this spring and summer. The fieldwork on the Crown lands is primarily funded by Forestry England and is co-ordinated by Marcus Ward of Wild New Forest, who is dedicating 80 days (600 hours) per year to the project.

The overall aim is to produce an initial map of Pine Marten distribution across the New Forest and identify their preferred habitats, with a view to understanding whether the population is self-sustaining and potentially able to link up with populations being established elsewhere in southern England. Further background to the first year of the project can be viewed on the Wild New Forest blog here and here.

The project team have just released a video, produced by Michelle Poczapsky, showing highlights from the 2021 field season. The video includes fantastic footage of Pine Martens moving around the forest floor at night and in the early morning, including a clip showing an adult Pine Marten apparently moving young kits between den sites, and others showing juvenile Pine Martens, providing tantalising evidence for successful breeding.

The video also features a variety of other notable wildlife recorded on camera in 2021, including Goshawks chasing Grey Squirrels on the ground, a Buzzard eating a Bank Vole, and intimate and often entertaining views of mammals including Badgers, Foxes, and several species of deer.