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More rare dormice released into the wild

Dormice are being returned to a Warwickshire woodland.
Dormice are being returned to a Warwickshire woodland.

ANOTHER batch of rare dormice have been released in a undisclosed woodland in Warwickshire, writes Leah Dunkley.

They are the second groups of endangered hazel dormice to be let out in the unnamed forest as part of national efforts to give the species hope for the future by wildlife charity, People’s Trust for the Endangered Species (PTES) and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

The first dormice were released into a south Warwickshire woodland in June last year.

Prior to the latest release on Thursday, 14th June, the dormice underwent a thorough nine-week quarantine period at London Zoo and Paignton Zoo in Devon.

The captive-bred dormice were given full health examinations before being carefully transported to their new surroundings, nestled amongst foliage, food and water.

Each pair is given their own wooden box, which are put up on hazel trees, in a similar fashion to bird boxes.

Over the last 25 years, more than 938 dormice have been released following The State of Britain’s Dormice report which confirmed fears of their rapid population decrease.

The report in 2016 published that hazel dormice have become extinct from 17 English counties, which can be attributed to the loss of woodland and hedgerow habitat, as well as changes to traditional countryside management practices.

The reintroduction programmes promise to play the essential role in conserving the survival of these rare species.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Chris Redstall is responsible for monitoring the dormice and any future offspring.

He said: “This year’s woodland is well-managed with a mixture of mature and coppiced woodland, which is the perfect habitat for hazel dormice. “We would like to thank National Lottery players and our scheme partners for their support.”

Ian White, dormouse and training officer at PTES, added: “By returning to the same county we can connect the two populations in the future, creating a larger population which we hope will bring this species back from the brink.”

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