The Project | History

Needles in haystacks – 30 years of looking

The VWT has been carrying out pine marten research in England, Wales and Scotland since the early 1980s. Much of this work has focused on investigating the distribution and status of the pine marten in England and Wales.

The Trust carried out the first national pine marten survey in the early 1980s, which confirmed that while the population in Scotland was recovering and expanding, only very small populations persisted in restricted areas of England and Wales.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Trust continued its pursuit to detect pine martens in England and Wales, using field techniques such as scat surveys, camera traps, and hair tubes, and recording and evaluating sightings. Despite a concerted effort, there have only been a handful of unequivocal records of pine martens in England and Wales over the last 20 years. This has led us to conclude that pine marten populations in England and Wales have not recovered from their historical decline and are highly unlikely to do so without active intervention.