Aug 09 2019
Dormice Footprint Detectives
Our new volunteer wardens at Avoncliff Wood are trialing dormouse footprint tunnels at our recent acquisition in the west country. As part of a full monitoring study of the plants and animals at Avoncliff Wood, the volunteers have installed 30 dormice tunnels lined with white card, with charcoal oil-paint at each end, to see if dormice walk through the tunnels leaving little footprints behind.
No dormice are harmed during the process, but there may be a population of black-footed dormice wandering the trees and hazel coppice around Bath! And fingers crossed they will be leaving their footprints for us to find.
It’s a new method of dormice detection designed to check for presence or absence of a dormice population, with minimal disturbance. Dormice are a European Protected Species and populations are in serious decline.
We have put out 30 boxes around the wood, and mapped the locations with eight figure grid references, and will return every few weeks to see what dormice, wood mice, voles and other birds and animals leave their footprints on the card. We are revising our small mammal footprint ecology sheets in practice!
Words: Joe Middleton
Pictures: People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Joe Middleton