September 18, 2008

Hunt for Dormice at Risk of Extinction

THE hunt is on for dormice in Northumberland.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has been given a cash boost from The People's Trust for Endangered Species to help the search.

It is thought that the most northerly population of the hazel dormouse in the UK is in the Allenbanks area.

The search will focus on the Lower Allen Valley.

The dormouse lives in semi natural woodland with heavy coppice of hazel trees. But they are close to extinction in the region due to the disappearance of their natural woodland habitat.

During the two world wars, many trees were felled for the war effort.

The trust's survey methods will include checking nest boxes for signs of hibernation and plastic research tubes for hair samples, and inspecting nuts on the forest floor.

Kevin O'Hara, trust conservation officer, said: "We are all delighted with the financial support we have received from People's Trust for Endangered Species.

"Dormice are becoming yet another endangered species in the UK, so it is vitally important that we know where they are so that we can protect them for the future. This survey will go some way towards helping us to do that."

Volunteers can contact the trust on (0191) 284-6884.

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