'Phenomenal resurgence' of Pine Marten in Northern Ireland


A new survey has revealed that the presence of Pine Martens in Northern Ireland has nearly doubled during the last five years.

Ulster Wildlife said the species is undergoing a "phenomenal resurgence", with martens now present in all six Northern Irish counties, marking a significant expansion beyond the traditional stronghold in Co Fermanagh.

Pine Marten is doing well in Northern Ireland (Ron Marshall).

Ulster Wildlife's 2022 survey of Pine Martens and squirrels (Grey and Red) was carried out across 218 woodlands using camera traps and feeders with participation from 15 partners including National Trust and Mourne Heritage Trust.

It found that martens were present in almost double the number of sites compared to a previous survey five years ago. The survey also shows that the number of woodlands surveyed with Red Squirrels present remains comparable to 2017, suggesting that the population is holding steady at a landscape scale.

"It's fantastic to see pine martens spreading and returning to areas where they haven't been seen for many years," said Ulster Wildlife priority species officer Ross McIlwrath. He hopes the marten's recovery will boost Red Squirrel populations, which were previously decimated by the introduction of Grey Squirrels from North America in the 19th century.

The presence of Pine Martens in Northern Ireland has nearly doubled in five years (Ulster Wildlife).

The survey shows that the presence of Grey Squirrel has declined slightly since 2017, most notably in woodlands surveyed in the west. Co Fermanagh has maintained its status as an area free from Grey Squirrels.