Fresh signs of pine marten in Cumbernauld
Recently Nature Ninja volunteer Ann Innes captured video of a pine marten in a woodland in Cumbernauld, it looks wonderfully healthy and it may be a female looking for a safe space to den and have her young in spring. We’ll be watching out for signs of these very cute kits!
It is safe to say that the pine marten is at home here in the town. In 2013 a Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteer captured footage of one in another of the woodlands of Cumbernauld following on from a scat survey (where we look for pine marten poo) carried out by the Vincent Wildlife Trust.
Both confirmed the presence of this beautiful creature and cameras were set up to determine if they were residents or just moving through. Over the years we have also conducted our own scat surveys in Cumbernauld and residents have also told me that they have either seen it or have noted the scat and asked about it.
Pine martens, Martes martes, are mustelids related to ferrets and otters. They are easy to recognise with reddish-brown fur, a striking creamy yellow bib on the chest, and a big bushy tail. They are cat sized, with short powerful legs and specially adapted semi-retractable claws, that help them climb trees where they can den safely. They are known to burrow too and sometimes use old badger setts as a short-term home.
Britain’s pine martens are currently recovering from near-extinction. Historically they were hunted for fur, persecuted by gamekeepers and farmers protecting stock, and they lost large areas of their natural woodland habitat. Thankfully pine martens are now a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (Scotland) 1981.
It’s fantastic that as as part of their wider recovery this species that we’ve begun to associate with the Highlands has happily found its way back to Cumbernauld, and hopefully the work that we are doing to improve the many woodlands we have here will help them to thrive.