News | Latest News | New leaflet on how to exclude pine martens from game and poultry pens

4th October 2013

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. launched a new information leaflet on the pine marten in Ireland on Wednesday September 25th at the 2013 National Ploughing Championships. The Vincent Wildlife Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife Service worked together to publish the leaflet, which is based on an publication by the Trust that first appeared in 1998. This earlier publication by Elizabeth Balharry was based on experiences in Scotland at a time when the pine marten population was slowly recovering from a decline and where concern was growing about their impact on game, particularly pheasants being reared for shooting purposes.

Although the pine marten is native to Ireland, it became extinct in many parts of the country during the last century due to poisoning, persecution, loss of habitat and being hunted for its fur. It became a protected species under the 1976 Wildlife Act and now is returning to areas from which it has been absent for decades. Despite its recent recovery, the current population estimate is only between 3,000 and 5,000 animals, so it is still one of our rarer mammals.

However, both the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Trust have been receiving reports that this species is gaining access to game and domestic fowl. This leaflet provides practical advice on how to keep pine martens out of pens.

At the launch Minister Deenihan stressed that the pine marten is a protected species and that if pens are properly constructed, pine martens can be kept out.

Also speaking at the launch Kate McAney of the Trust stressed that while the pine marten is viewed as a new arrival in some parts of the country, it is a native species that has been in Ireland for thousands of years and is an important part of our wildlife heritage. She urged those rearing fowl to adopt the practical measures described in the leaflet.

The leaflet can be downloaded here.