MRS L RAE, from Brittany, writes:

Re the online story ‘Predator plan prompts fears for moor’s bird life’, I have lived in France for the last 24 years. Pine Martins are indigenous in this area.

Keeping poultry here, you have to be vigilant against all pests. Pine Martins however, are very determined killers, choosing easy prey: poultry, fledglings and even quite large victims, such as ducks and geese. The mallard population on the rivers has been devastated by these animals.

They can enter a pen of sleeping fowl, as they’re expert climbers and have serrated claws to enable them to do this, also they can dig sufficiently to enter a narrow passage. Once in, they kill every single creature in a frenzy.

In the spring, when they have kits, the problem for poultry farmers is redoubled. A Pine Martin literally shredded the necks of about 30 turkeys belonging to a neighbour.

What on earth is the advantage in reintroducing such an animal? They have not been indigenous in the UK for about two centuries.

They are not ‘attractive’ additions for the public to enjoy, they are, as an Australian friend remarked, the ‘wolverines of the North’, determined killers of easy prey./

As for diminishing the grey squirrel population (such a joke), these are not easy prey, it will be the small birds and poultry farmers who will bear the brunt. As someone who has actually encountered the animal and seen the consequences I find the reasoning for its introduction questionable.

To be quite honest, if you have one jot of common sense, abandon this project, you will most certainly be opening a serious can of worms for the British Isles. With all the threats to the wild bird population, how many song birds can we afford to lose?


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