York & North Yorkshire

Rare pine marten captured on camera in Yorkshire

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Media captionThe first ever images of a pine marten living in Yorkshire have been captured

Footage of a rare pine marten has been captured proving the animal's existence in part of Yorkshire.

The male pine marten was taken by a camera trap on Forestry Commission land on the North York Moors.

It was the first confirmed record of a pine marten in the area for 24 years and the first living one recorded for 35 years, the commission said.

The mammal was once common but is now confined mainly to northern Scotland.

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The last confirmed record of one in Yorkshire was in 1993, when a skull was recovered.

Since then there have been a number of sightings reported but no firm proof, the commission said.

Pine martens are nocturnal, house cat-sized members of the stoat and weasel family.

They are also vigilant and arboreal, making it difficult to track and monitor them without the use of remote technology.

'Massive achievement'

The image was captured by NatureSpy, a non-profit social enterprise, which runs the Yorkshire Pine Marten Project in partnership with the Forestry Commission.

It has been using wildlife camera traps, which can monitor a particular area 24/7, for four years.

The camera is triggered when an animal walks in front of it.

Ed Snell, from the project, said: "To finally prove pine marten presence in Yorkshire is a massive achievement for everyone involved."

The team now plans to study the animal more closely through collecting DNA samples, estimating population numbers, looking at habitat references and designing a habitat management scheme.

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