Injured polecat found in electricity pylon construction site in Somerset finds new home

'Hinkley' the polecat was discovered one morning after being trapped during pylon construction Credit: National Grid

A polecat which was found injured after being trapped overnight at an electricity pylon construction site in Somerset has been found a new home and a new name.

The animal has been named 'Hinkley', after the project to build pylons to carry electricity from the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

He became stuck in a work area where pylon foundations were being built, which left him exposed to the elements and at risk from predators. When he was discovered he was in poor condition and in need of medical help.

Members of National Grid's Hinkley Connection Project sought help from Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill.

Its volunteers determined that Hinkley was domesticated and helped to arrange treatment at Quantock Veterinary Hospital.

After extensive searches and no luck finding his owner, the vets approached Tony Vauden, a Secret World volunteer and experienced owner of ferrets and polecats, to see if he would give the polecat a home. Tony took him in and gave him his new name.

Wild polecats, known for their bandit-like appearance, were once hunted to the brink of extinction, and are classified as a protected species in the UK.

They’re roughly the size of a ferret and can be found in lowland wooded habitats, marshes, riverbanks, or dry-stone walls.

In 2005, after an absence of many years due to persecution, the return of the wild polecat to Somerset was confirmed.

Wild polecats were once hunted to the brink of extinction, and are classified as a protected species in the UK Credit: National Grid

Russell Hancock, Safety Health Environment and Quality Manager from National Grid said: “Minimising our environmental impact and supporting wildlife, animals and habitats on and around our infrastructure is a crucial element of the Hinkley Connection Project.

"We’re incredibly proud of the reactiveness of the team and would like to extend our thanks to the Quantock Veterinary Hospital and Secret World Wildlife Rescue for providing the care that this lost animal desperately needed.”

Pauline Kidner, founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue said: “A big thank you to the National Grid team for informing us about the poorly polecat and I am delighted our staff and volunteers at Secret World Wildlife Rescue and Quantock Veterinary Hospital were able to nurse Hinkley the polecat back to health and find him a loving home.”