The Vincent Wildlife Trust

Ledbury, United Kingdom

The Vincent Wildlife Trust

Ledbury, United Kingdom
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O'Mahony D.T.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland | Powell C.,Waterford Institute of Technology | Power J.,Waterford Institute of Technology | Hanniffy R.,The Vincent Wildlife Trust | And 3 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2017

Pine martens (Martes martes) are subject to national and international conservation legislation throughout most of their European range. Yet population density and abundance estimates, which are a key component of effective conservation management, are lacking in many countries. In this study, a large-scale non-invasive survey was undertaken in 14 forested study sites throughout Ireland to assess variation in pine marten density and abundance. Pine marten hair samples were collected in each study site and analysed using genetic techniques to determine individual identity data. Density and abundance estimates were obtained using spatially explicit capture-recapture models and CAPWIRE. Across all study sites, a total of 93 individual pine marten were identified and captured 217 times. Estimated pine marten density varied from 0 to 2.60 individuals per km2 of forested habitat, with all but a single site having estimated densities of ≤1 pine marten per km2 of forest habitat. Mean population abundance estimates across all study sites ranged from 0 to 27 individuals. Spatially explicit capture-recapture models on combined data across all 14 study sites provided a mean density estimate of 0.64 (95% CI 0.49–0.81). Combining this with data on the current distribution and estimated area of forest habitat occupied by the species in Ireland, the total pine marten population abundance of pine marten in Ireland was estimated at 3043 (95% CI 2330–3852) individuals. This research has conducted the largest scale investigation of pine marten density and abundance in any part of its global distribution and provided an improved basis for future population assessment and monitoring of this species. © 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Croose E.,The Vincent Wildlife Trust | Croose E.,University of Edinburgh | Birks J.D.S.,Swift Ecology Ltd | O'Reilly C.,Waterford Institute of Technology | And 3 more authors.
Mammal Research | Year: 2016

The European pine marten (Martes martes) is a species of considerable conservation interest in Britain due to its rarity and status as a recovering native carnivore. In recent years, there has been increased application of non-invasive genetic sampling methods in population studies of Martes species. We investigated the effect of sample source (hair and faeces) in the non-invasive assessment of the distribution, population size and density of pine martens in the Fleet Basin in Galloway Forest, southwest Scotland. Fifty-two hair samples and 114 scats were collected during September and October 2014. Genetic analysis was used to identify the species, gender and individual genotype of samples. There was a significant difference in the genotyping success rate for hair samples (43 %) and scat samples (24 %). In total, 15 individual pine martens were identified; 7 males and 8 females. Capture-recapture programme Capwire produced a population size estimate of 18 individuals (95 % CI 15 to 25). Of the 15 individuals sampled, 14 (93 %) were detected from scat sampling and 5 (33 %) were detected from hair sampling. The population density estimate for a post-breeding population was 0.13 to 0.15 pine martens per square kilometre which is towards the lower limit of densities reported for pine martens elsewhere in Scotland. Data from the study highlight that future non-invasive studies aiming to determine pine marten population size and density should incorporate the collection of both hair and scat samples in order to detect as many individuals within the population as possible. © 2015, Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland.


Jordan N.R.,The Vincent Wildlife Trust | Messenger J.,The Vincent Wildlife Trust | Turner P.,Waterford Institute of Technology | Croose E.,The Vincent Wildlife Trust | And 3 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2012

We investigated the origins and persistence of European pine marten (Martes martes) populations across the British Isles by identifying mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from contemporary populations (sampled since 1981) and comparing these with those of older 'historical' museum specimens (pre-1981) originally collected from the same geographic areas. Excluding Scotland, where the haplotype composition of populations appears to be unchanged, haplotypes found in contemporary and historical marten populations elsewhere differed both temporally and geographically. While these data suggest that the contemporary Irish population is descended from a relict population that passed through an early to mid 1900s bottleneck, the historical and contemporary English and Welsh populations differ in their abundance of specific mtDNA control region haplotypes. These data appear to suggest that particular haplotypes may have been lost from England and Wales at some point in the early to mid 1900s, but further nuclear DNA work is required to determine whether this shift has occurred by rapid genetic drift in the mtDNA control region or whether relict populations have been replaced by pine martens from elsewhere. If the reported shifts in mtDNA haplotypes reflect population extirpation events, historical pine marten populations of England and Wales would appear to have become extinct in the twentieth century (in Wales after 1950 and in England after 1924). Additionally, the recent occurrence of haplotypes originating from continental Europe, and of M. americana, suggest that relict populations of England and Wales have been replaced by, or hybridised with, occasional released, escaped and/or translocated animals. The implications of these results for pine marten conservation, and particularly reintroduction, are discussed. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Day J.,University of Exeter | Baker J.,University of Exeter | Schofield H.,The Vincent Wildlife Trust | Mathews F.,University of Exeter | Gaston K.J.,University of Exeter
Animal Conservation | Year: 2015

Artificial nighttime lighting has many effects on biodiversity. A proposed environmental management option, primarily to save energy, is to alter the duration of night lighting. Using the greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum as an example of a photophobic species, we explored roadside behaviour patterns throughout the night to assess the potential impact of part-night lighting. We found a large primary peak in activity 1h after sunset, followed by a smaller secondary peak before sunrise. Simulated part-night lighting scenarios reveal that to capture a large proportion of bat activity, streetlights should be switched off before midnight. Current proposed uses of part-night lighting are unlikely to capture natural peaks in activity for nocturnal species. © 2015 The Zoological Society of London.


Croose E.,The Vincent Wildlife Trust | Birks J.D.S.,Swift Ecology Ltd | Martin J.,Myotismart Ltd
Conservation Evidence | Year: 2016

The pine marten Martes martes is a woodland specialist that favours above-ground arboreal den sites to rest and breed in. Sheltered, elevated den sites are particularly crucial for meeting the needs of breeding females and a scarcity of suitable sites may be a critical constraint upon pine marten populations. An artificial den box for pine martens was designed and 50 boxes were installed in part of Galloway Forest, southwest Scotland, in order to (a) increase the availability and diversity of suitable den sites for breeding female martens and (b) aid monitoring of the marten population. The boxes were monitored for signs of use once a year. A proportion of the boxes was occupied by martens every year and the boxes were used by breeding females to raise their young. The den boxes can be implemented as a habitat enhancement and conservation tool, particularly in commercial forests, and used to monitor marten populations and breeding success. We recommend that conservation programmes for pine martens should consider the installation of den boxes as a habitat enhancement and monitoring tool. © 2016, University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.

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