Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Pining for Marten?

Scientists have claimed that encouraging the Pine marten (Martes martes) may be the key to returning UK woodlands to the native Red squirrel ( In Scotland, where there is a significant Pine marten population, the predator seems to find the introduced Grey squirrel (that normally out-competes the Reds, being larger, more intelligent as well as being more resistant to squirrel pox) 'easier meat' than the Reds (one might speculate that only the Reds have encoded behavioural repertoires that facilitate avoidance of the native mustelid). Pine martens, however, largely disappeared from British woodlands as they will eat poultry and ground-nesting game birds. I suspect that that they would return to a mixed array of prey, if Greys were in short supply, again creating tensions with some human groups. 

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