Image; Chas Moonie
Yorkshire Pine Marten Project
NatureSpy is running an ambitious project to capture the first ever image of a wild pine marten living in Yorkshire.
If the Yorkshire Pine Marten Project is successful, it is believed it would be the first time a pine marten has been pictured living Yorkshire and only the third time in England.
The project will use wildlife camera traps which trigger when a wild animal passes in front of them, snapping a picture or video of the critter.
Cameras have already been placed, with help from the Forestry Commission, in the first focus areas; secret locations in the North York Moors that have previously had reports and sightings of pine marten.
Initially the project was due to run over the summer months, but NatureSpy’s successful crowd-funding campaign meant that dedicated project camera traps can stay on the North York Moors. More areas of forest in the Moors will also be monitored with the aim of conclusively proving that they are surviving here.
However the search is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack; pine marten are extremely elusive and also arboreal, meaning that they spend a lot of their time in the treetops.
Aiming to combat this, the wildlife biologists at NatureSpy have baited the areas in front of the traps with tasty and smelly peanut butter and honey – known to be snacks enjoyed by the mysterious carnivores – which will hopefully tempt them down.
Previous searches undertaken by other organisations and volunteers have yielded little evidence, although their presence has been confirmed in Northumberland via a scat DNA test. There have also been recent sightings of pine martens, and a dead marten was found in the Moors in 1993.
The cameras will also undoubtedly capture many other species of wildlife that inhabit the forests of the North York Moors, such as deer, badgers and stoats, but the ultimate prize is the pine marten itself. Time will tell if the project will beat the odds and prove if this enigmatic mammal is living under our noses.