Pine martens could return to Dartmoor 150 years after disappearance from National Park

Pine martens disappeared from Dartmoor and Exmoor around 150 years ago. Credit: LDRS/Don from Pixabay

Pine martens could be reintroduced to Dartmoor National Park, more than a hundred years since they disappeared from the landscape.

The plans are part of measures to restore nature, as the creature is seen as a vital missing part in thriving ecosystems.

Pine Martens, once Britain’s second most common carnivore, disappeared from Dartmoor and Exmoor 150 years ago because of habitat loss and persecution.

They have been introduced in mid-Wales and the Forest of Dean, with plans also to release them in Somerset.

Chris Giles, from Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA), said too many predators on the moor had resulted in a reduction or loss of rare and smaller species, with crows, deer, foxes and grey squirrels taking over.

There have also been efforts to boost curlew numbers. Credit: LDRS/Bob Brewer on Unsplash

This year will also reveal whether efforts to boost curlews on Dartmoor have been successful.

The curlew programme is a Duchy of Cornwall initiative in which eggs that would otherwise be destroyed are incubated and raised on the moor for release in summer.

But Mr Giles said more resources are needed for projects to have a larger impact.

“To achieve this, it can’t be a little bit here and a little bit there," he said. "We are not looking at single farms, but large-scale landscapes where we can make a big difference, allowing nature to take the reins again in some areas. We need to make sure our exciting wildlife is protected and enhanced.”

Credit: Alison Stephenson / LDRS