South Scotland

Galloway foresters spot pine marten 'slapstick comedy'

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Media captionThe mother dragged the young kits back up the tree after their falls

Foresters in Galloway have been treated to a "slapstick comedy" as young pine martens learn to climb.

Efforts are ongoing in the area to help improve breeding success with about 100 artificial den boxes across the Galloway Forest Park.

Three pine marten kits were spotted during the monitoring of one box north of Newton Stewart.

However, their first foray out of the box resulted in them tumbling about 4m (13ft) onto the forest floor.

Environment forester Gareth Ventress said: "The next few days were like a slapstick comedy show with a series of falling kits followed by the mother dragging them back up the tree and unceremoniously shoving them back into the entrance.

"At times the falls were just five minutes apart."

Image copyright Forestry Commission Scotland
Image caption The mother dragged the young kits back up the tree after their falls

He said that eventually their mother had "had enough of the fun and games" and dragged each of the three kits out of the box carrying them down the tree one at a time.

She moved them to a lower "nursery den" in a tree with lots of branches so they could learn to climb more easily and build their strength and co-ordination.

They will stay there until they are able to follow their mother out foraging and hunting.

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