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Project launched to save endangered dormice

Conservationists say urgent action is needed to help save one of our most endearing - but endangered - wild animals.

Hazel Dormice have vanished from much of our countryside. Habitat loss and climate change are among the reasons why.

Now, work is underway to protect our remaining dormice, and find ways to increase their numbers.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to ecologist Petra Billings, and Mark Monk-Terry of the Sussex Wildlife Trust.


Dormice found sheltering after Sussex floods

A small dormouse was found in the Sussex survey Credit: ITV Meridian

Dormice have been found hibernating in a nesting box in Sussex - where they are thought to have taken shelter after recent floods.

Dormice generally live across the South and hibernate on the ground or in hedgerows so it is especially unusual that they are hiding in nesting boxes.

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Baby dormice saved

Two tiny dormice, which were found abandoned in a flowerpot, are being nursed back to health by carers at the Wildwood Trust near Canterbury.

The endangered animals are being fed a milk formula by hand every two hours and are slowly being weaned onto solid food. David Johns has been to see how they're getting on; he spoke to animal keeper Judi Dunn, and Wildwood's Chief Executive Peter Smith.


Thumb-sized baby dormice rescued from plantpot

Only two of the four dormice survived following the rescue Credit: Wildwood Trust

A group of baby dormice were discovered in a plant pot bought from a garden centre in Kent.

The mice were taken to the Fur and Feather Wildlife Trust in Folkestone and mounted a 24 hour vigil.

Two of the babies did not survive but the two that remain are healthy and safe in the care of the Wildlife Trust conservation.

The Wildwood dormouse rescue centre is the biggest of its kind in the UK and the Canterbury based charity is helping to strengthen dormouse breeding.

Hazel Ryan, Wildwood’s Senior Conservation Officer said, "The hazel dormouse is now classed as extremely vulnerable to extinction but through projects such as this, Wildwood hopes to tip the balance back in favour of the dormouse.”

Due to the cold weather, the survival of the late babies are very small Credit: Wildwood Trust