Wildlife experts have confirmed that a rare pine marten found by the roadside between Belper and Ripley was from a recovery project in north Wales.
The Vincent Wildlife Trust says that the animal carcass recovered from the A38 was ‘pine marten number three’ – a pine marten from their recovery project 120km away.
Such long journeys by pine martens are unusual but not unheard of and it may be the result of this animal being displaced by a more dominant pine marten, according to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
A post-mortem will be carried out to discover the cause of death.
Angela Mayson, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s head of living landscapes south, said, “This makes us even more determined to see pine martens thriving in Derbyshire again as they once would have and will be working with The Vincent Wildlife Trust to determine if we have a resident population and/or if we could have in the future.”
Wildlife photographer Andy Parkinson spotted the animal as he was on route to Wales – but realising its importance he passed on the information which enabled its body to be retrieved from the roadside.
Lizzie Croose, who heads up the The Vincent Wildlife Trust’s work with pine martens, has since confirmed it was a male.
Pine martens are about the size of a cat and have chestnut brown fur with a creamy yellow bib overthe throat and chest.
The animals are related to weasels, ferrets, polecats and otters.
Male pine martens defend large territories up to 25km sq and can travel as far as five miles in a single night.
There have been several sightings of pine martens in Derbyshire over the years but little physical or photographic evidence.
If you think you have seen a pine marten, report your sighting at www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/record-sighting
To learn more about pine martens, visit Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s website, www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-explorer/mammals/pine-marten