Pine marten update – getting things going…

By Ed Snell, Yorkshire Pine Marten Project Officer

We are now 4 weeks in to our new Heritage Lottery funded pine marten project, the Yorkshire Pine Marten Support Programme.

We’ve been busy getting the project off the ground and one of our first priorities is getting trail cameras into forests in the North York Moors area. Trail cameras are central to our pine marten surveying efforts as we can learn a great deal from the video clips they gather. The cameras enable us to see specific locations of pine marten, behaviours such as scent marking, visual checks of health and the identification of individuals – the eagle-eyed will spot that the pine marten in this video is the same individual as the one in the scent marking video above (the clue is in the unique shape of the yellow bib!)

Setting up a trail camera for pine marten in Yorkshire

To film the pine marten, you must first become the pine marten, as demonstrated by James…

The project will use up to 60 trail cameras, which means we’re running 5 or 6 individual surveys in different areas at any given time. This enables us to cover a lot of ground and survey places that were not explored in our previous Yorkshire Pine Marten Project. In comparison, the Yorkshire Pine Marten Project used just 6 cameras when we captured our first images of pine marten on the moors last August.

We’re currently recruiting 20 volunteers to support with our trail cam surveys. This is a great opportunity to learn more about pine marten in the area, how to run camera trap surveys and meet like-minded conservation volunteers. If you want to volunteer there’s still time to apply, more details can be found here. We will be recruiting a further 30 volunteers a little later this year, more details of this will be on social media and our website.

Baiting camera traps for pine marten in Yorkshire

It’s all about angles and tempting forest snacks.

In the coming months we’ll be starting to roll out our work on collecting pine marten hair and scat samples for DNA analysis and installing den boxes. Our first 3 trial boxes are about to go up, there will be 47 more to follow!

We’ll be posting regular project updates through the website and our social media feeds, so watch this space to see the activities we’re embarking upon to support the development of a pine marten conservation strategy for the area. For now, here’s a snapshot into the setup of one of our trail camera stations in just 12 seconds…

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