North West Wales

Conservationists' delight as dormice return to Conwy wood

Sleeping dormice
Image caption Dormice can hibernate for up to half the year

Conservationists are celebrating the return of dormice to a wood for the first time in more than a decade.

A project was started by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) in 2008, which saw 30 nesting boxes being put up.

But only birds and bees had used the boxes until recent weeks, when three young dormice were found in the woodland in Conwy.

It is only the third site in the county to record dormice, a protected species.

Audrey Watson, officer for the BASC's Green Shoots project in north Wales said: "I had checked the boxes in the summer and was disappointed not to find any evidence of dormice.

"But when we lifted the lid of one of the boxes, we saw a ball-shaped nest covered in fresh leaves - a sure sign of a dormouse nest. And it moved."

Sally Conyers, from the North Wales Wildlife Trust, said: "We found two juvenile males and a juvenile female, all of which hopefully were the right weight to survive winter."

She said it gives hope other local woodland could support dormice.

The trust wants landowners to plant linking hedges and woodland so dormice and other wildlife can move and expand their populations.

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