Evidence that pine martens have returned to the Bannau Brycheiniog

National Park project delivers results for endangered species

In 2018 the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority launched a project to provide suitable den sites and monitoring for the pine marten. This year, with help from volunteers recruited from the Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change course at the at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the project is proving to be a success.

Pine martens are critically endangered in England and Wales; projects like this are vital to the future of the species. Camera traps were set up across the park to monitor the success of the project. Within the space of a few short months, these cameras revealed what the project team had been waiting for: evidence of pine martens in the Bannau Brycheiniog.

Pine martens are mammals with long, lithe bodies, from the same family as the mink, weasel and stoat. They have brown fur with a flash of cream on their chests. Martens make their home in woodland and are roughly the size of a small domestic cat.

Four students were recruited from Trinity Saint David to work alongside Bannau Brycheiniog Assistant Conservation Officer, Jason Rees. Jason is passionate about conserving the future of the species. He said, ‘The project has been running in the west of the National Park. It’s a very rural landscape with a sparse population and we were struggling to recruit volunteers to help with the work. Thanks to a partnership with Trinity Saint David we have recruited four wonderful volunteers from the University. They have helped us erect camera traps and den boxes.’

Volunteer Lucy Fairbrother said, ‘I’ve loved volunteering for this project. It’s so rewarding when you see the footage from the camera traps. The pine martens are back! I’m proud to have been able to help achieve that.’

The team will continue to monitor the presence of these elusive creatures, but they are hopeful for the future.

The project has been made possible with funding from the National Parks Sustainable Development Fund, working in partnership Vincent Wildlife Trust, National Resources Wales, Gwent Drug and Alcohol Services, and now the students from Trinity St David. For more information about the work of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, please visit www.beacons-npa.gov.uk