Dormice in decline
Urgent action in the form of a reintroduction programme, guidance for woodland managers and landowners, plus increased volunteer monitoring is needed to save the hazel dormouse, one of Britain’s most appealing mammals, says the People’s trust for endangered Species (Ptes), which has the tiny creature as one of its biggest priorities. numbers of hazel dormouse—with its shy, beguiling demeanour, big watchful eyes and furry tail—have shrunk by a third since 2000 and by half in the past century, attendees of the Ptes’s national Dormouse Conference heard last week.
In 1885, Muscardinus avellanarius —not to be confused with the fat or edible dormouse, introduced to england in 1902—could be found in 49 counties; today, it’s 32 (not counting the areas into which they have been reintroduced), almost exclusively south of a line running from Shropshire to Suffolk. Since 1993, the Ptes has released 864 dormice at 22 sites in 12 counties. the reasons for decreasing dormice are given as loss of woodland and hedgerow habitat, the decline in coppicing and selective felling and bad weather—dormice fur isn’t very waterproof and the animal will go into a state of torpor and stop foraging. they will nest in bird boxes or specially designed dormouse boxes.