07 21/07/2011

Native Species Programme helps to protect the native Hazel Dormouse

You’d be lucky to get a picture like this in the North West of England these days. The Hazel Dormouse, once widespread in woodland and scrub in England and Wales, is now a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Species, and is more widespread in the South of England.

Concerned about the future of the dormouse in the North of England and Wales, in 2005 the North West Dormouse Partnership was formed. This saw us joining forces with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust and other local organisations to monitor and research two local dormouse populations – a reintroduced population in Cheshire and a natural population in North Wales.

We carry out regular dormouse monitoring sessions and in June found more than 50 dormice. Unusually for the time of year, there were some litters of babies found – this could be due to the warmer weather we saw in April around the UK.

The research we carry out includes weighing and micro chipping the dormouse to find out more about the animals and continue to monitor them in the future. Our staff are heavily involved in these monitoring sessions, including our vets who microchip the mice and our conservation staff who carry out the field work and analyse data.

We’ll be back out in the field in September and October this year to find out how many young have been born at the two sites.

If you would like to support projects like this one visit our conservation website www.actforwildlife.org.uk