Project information

Vets Restore Rarest British Carnivore: Pine Marten

The pine marten is charismatic, elusive and running out of time. In 2015 WVI assisted Vincent Wildlife Trust translocating 20 breeding adults to Wales to supplement declining populations. A further 20 are planned for this year. WVI continues to monitor health before, during and after translocation.

August 2015 - December 2019

Charity information: Wildlife Vets International

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  • Need


    The pine marten, once common and widespread throughout Britain, declined in the 19th and early 20th century. Woodlands were degraded or cut down and the growth in Victorian game shooting estates meant increased predator control.

    Today, the pine marten goes from strength to strength in Scotland and is expanding into its former range. The recovery is not being seen in England and Wales. The likely outcome south of the border is extinction and intervention is needed to prevent this from happening


    The Vincent Wildlife Trust’s Pine Marten Recovery Project aims to restore healthy viable pine marten populations to England and Wales. WVI will provide the vets.

    Individuals from well-populated sites in Scotland will be trapped, health screened, fitted with radio-collars and transferred to holding pens in Wales. When acclimatised they will be released at pre-selected sites.

    WVI will provide veterinary advice to the translocation process and spearhead a proactive health surveillance strategy.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To maximise the health and welfare of pine martens during all stages of the translocation process.


    » Should there be translocations in 2017 following those in 2015 and 2016, tweak already tested protocols
    » Should any translocations occur after 2016, each captured pine marten will be examined and health-screened before selection for translocation.

    Transparent reporting of all health and welfare data acquired during the translocation process.

    Aim 2

    Develop a comprehensive health surveillance strategy to monitor health in the release ecosystem.


    » Create a collaborative collection network for pine marten road-traffic casualties in order to maximise opportunities for health surveillance.
    » Collate data from other sources relating to health of other wildlife and domesticated animal species.
    » In the light of data collection and interpretation, review the Disease Risk Analysis for translocation project.

    Regular reports to the Vincent Wildlife Trust, summarising findings, reviewing disease risks and recommending actions where indicated.

  • Impact


    The long-term success of veterinary support for the PMRP may be measured in terms of a healthy sustainable pine marten population in the reinforcement areas, but due to the complexity of ecosystems, success of veterinary involvement pertains also to minimising any detrimental health-related effects, not only for pine martens, but also for other wildlife, domesticated animals and humans in the population reinforcement areas.


    WVI has a number of vets to call upon should Dr Tomlinson become unavailable for this work, all with health surveillance experience.

    In the case of an unexpected major health outbreak the project would be put on hold while the Disease Risk Analysis for pine martens is updated and implemented.


    Donors to the project can receive regular newsletter updates from the Pine Marten Recovery Project as well as communications from WVI directly.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £13,225

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £9,000 Vet expertise Vet onsite for translocations and health analysis work
      £1,000 Travel expenses Subsistance cost during translocations @ £100/day
      £1,725 Publicity and Office costs website, newsletters, distribution of reports, grant applications
      £1,500 Biomedical sample costs Analysis and storage of samples

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    WVI £3,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The initial pine marten release areas are in mid Wales (Ceredigion and west Powys), where there is suitable woodland habitat and conditions for pine martens. After the first release pilot has been deemed successful, the Pine Marten Recovery Project (PMRP) will be identifying other release sites elsewhere in Wales and England.


    The PMRP will provide opportunities for locals to help track the pine martens and learn about their behaviour. Local tourism providers and businesses can utilise the project to attract new visitors who want to see pine martens, as occurs in Scotland. There may be biodiversity benefits if pine martens are shown to control grey squirrels, as been indicated by surveys in Ireland.
    Everyone will benefit from the ecosystem services that the restoration of woodland and increased biodiversity will bring

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    WVI has a successful and unique record of carrying out health surveillance in endangered species across the world from tigers in Russia, Sumatra and Bangladesh to pink pigeons in Mauritius. We have also produced the first comprehensive Disease Risk Assessment for a big cat reintroduction: the Amur leopard.

    The Vincent Wildlife Trust is an authority on pine martens, being the only organisation to have been working on pine martens in Britain for over 30 years.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Alexandra Tomlinson - Vet And Epidemiologist, WVI

    Vet on the ground and will do the data analysis, producing the Disease Risk Assessment reports.

    Dr John Lewis - Veterinary Director, WVI

    Oversees the veterinary side of the Pine Marten Recovery Project

    Olivia Walter - Development Manager, WVI

    Chief fundraiser for the veterinary costs of the project and provides office support for the veterinary side of the project.

    Dr Jenny MacPherson - Pine Marten Project Manager, VWT

    Oversees and coordinates all aspects of the project, particularly providing scientific direction.

Pine marten (c) Edward Delaney

Pine marten (c) Edward Delaney