A camera trap set up in Kingston, London, to monitor hedgehogs caught a pine marten, an extremely rare occurrence in the south of England.
September 8, 2022
A pine marten (tuesday tuesday) has been seen in London for the first time since the 19th century, and only three years after the species. was introduced in southern England.
Although it became established in parts of Wales and Scotland and gradually recolonized northern England, the once common species remains very rare in southern England. The animal was captured by a camera trap set up to monitor hedgehogs in the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames, some 50km from the closest recent sighting to the capital, in East Sussex in 2016.
Kate Scott-Gatty of the Zoological Society of London says she usually has to go through a lot of photos of foxes and dogs to find hedgehogs. “Finding a marten is quite extraordinary.”
It is unclear exactly how the individual was found so far from the nearest known population, more than 100 kilometers away in the New Forest. Since the beavers appear to have been released in parts of England by people who want them back, it is possible that they were deliberately released in London. “Obviously that’s a possibility,” says Scott-Gatty.
Pine martens are generalist omnivores, eating everything from small mammals and birds to fungi, fruit, and berries, and play an important role in seed dispersal. Some conservationists have hoped to control populations of invasive gray squirrels, on which they feed. Red squirrels, which have been displaced by grays in much of the UK, evolved alongside martens, making them better at evading predators.
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