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First footage of a pine marten in Northumberland

Pine Marten Photo: Back from the Brink

A pine marten has been caught on camera in Northumberland for the first time.

The elusive carnivore is a member of the weasel family and can grow to about 50cm.

Clearance of forests over a century ago led to a steep decline in their numbers and they have struggled to recover.

Pine Marten Credit: Back from the Brink

But now we can see that they might be ready to make a return to the North East.

It would be a huge endorsement for the efforts that have been made to encourage their return.

The Back from the Brink project will now monitor the natural recovery in northern England.

We’ll make them welcome in woodlands that they do, or might, colonise, by providing artificial den boxes for them to rest and breed in.

Their spread and population recovery in England would benefit greatly from support, especially from landowners and local communities in this area.

– Nature Back from the Brink

Kevin O'Hara works with the Vincent Wildlife Trust on pine martens in the north of England. He says he has been waiting for this moment for 20 years and describes the footage as 'like finding a yeti'.

This is very early days for the species in Northumberland and volunteers will continue to monitor the situation and any effect on other local wildlife.

Pine Marten Credit: Back from the Brink

There is already preliminary research being carried out into the effect of pine martens on our populations of red squirrels.

Current findings seem to suggest there could be a positive impact on our native species of squirrel in its battle against the invasive greys - but further studies are needed.