A pine marten has been sighted in London for the first time in over 100 years

Author: Clark Tos
2022-09-16 16:26:02

A pine marten has been spotted in London for the first time since the 19th century. This very positive discovery comes only three years after the reintroduction of the species in the south of England.

Credit: London HogWatch, ZSL

The small mammal, which unlike the weasel does not come very close to human habitation, is established in certain rural areas of Wales and Scotland. In recent years, it has gradually recolonized the north of England but is still very rare in the south of the country. The photo of the pine marten, commonly known as marten, was captured by a camera trap set up to monitor hedgehogs in the London borough of Kingston upon Thames.

The last time it was observed was in 2016. At the time, it was in East Sussex, around 50 kilometers from the English capital. Kate Scott-Gatty, of the Zoological Society of London, who usually has to sift through many photos of foxes (very present in London ) and dogs to find hedgehogs, explains that 'finding a pine marten is quite extraordinary' .

However, the story does not say how the individual could have been found so far from the nearest known population. Indeed, according to specialists of the species, the latter is located more than 100 kilometers away, in the New Forest, south-west of London. However, several theories seem plausible. It is notably mentioned that the animal could have been deliberately released in the sector of the capital by people who wish the return of the species. “It is obviously a possibility” confirmed Kate Scott-Gatty.

Credit: Dave Kempe Photography / iStock

Good news for biodiversity

Anyway, the presence of the pine marten in the area is a first for more than 100 years and it is excellent news for the biodiversity local. And for good reason, the omnivore plays an important role in the dispersal of seeds. Some conservationists also hope that it can regulate the populations of gray squirrels that swarm in this area, since it is one of its favorite prey.

Source : NewScientist