One ofBritain’srarest mammals has bred on the island of Mull for the first time with three Pine Marten kitsreportedlyseen in April. No one is sure how the ‘Pineys’ made it across the sound of Mull from the mainland but they are causing mixed reactions from the locals with people worried about their impact on preying on small birds if their range expanded on the island. RSPB officer on Mull Dave Sexton points out that they are fantastic mammals and are part of scotlands wildlife.
I have been lucky enough to see Pine Martens in the wild on one occasion in the remote district of Ardnamurchan and it was a fantastic experience watching these fast, agile mustelids working their way through the upper canopy. Myself and dad travelled to western Scotland in the autumn of 2008 and one of the main reasons for the visit was the chance of seeing these special mammals.
Their range has been cut back from many parts of mainland Britain with the strongholds of their populations been in the more remote wilderness areas of Scotland. My local area of north west England includes place names such as Martindale and Martin Mere which indicate that theselocationsinhabitedthe mustelidspeciesat some point. An introduction just north of the border in the Galloway forest park has beensuccessfulin promoting the species and possible introductions could take place in the future for other conservation reasons like controlling the invasive grey Squirrel populations.
I think the main reason topromotethis species is down to their value through tourism as the isle of Mull and Scotland in general relies on the industry hugely as it is valued at 1.5 billion a year and 15-30% of all jobs are dependant on tourism in the country. Mull is regarded as one of the wildlifecapitalsof Europe and they should be welcoming these native mammals which will add to the islands economy through increasing the attractive wildlife species on offer. Pine Martens can also be a potentially reliable species to view as they can be baited in with success unlike there secretive cousins the Eurasian Otters which are on high demand to see on Mull but cant be consistently relied on because of their illusive behaviour.
The Scottish Natural Heritage is to conduct a £4000 study into the population after islanders raised concerns that the animals could have a negative impact on tourism. We will see in due course what results they get from the surveyance work and lets hope they make the right decision.
full article here -http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/mull-set-for-wildlife-war-after-sneak-invasion-of-pine-martens-1-2274077