Boat of Garten Wildlife Group
A hundred years ago pine martens all but died out in the UK but a few survived up in the far northwest of Scotland. Since then persecution has reduced and pine martens have made a spirited recovery right across the Scottish Highlands.
BoG-WiG has begun building nest boxes and installing them in the woods for these engaging animals. Pine martens are quite fussy about their nest sites and insist on them being thoroughly weatherproof - which is why they favour attics in houses. They do not make good lodgers - the smell and the mess they make is hard to live with - so a few well-built nest boxes in the woods will add to their options and so help keep them away from houses.
The introduction of the American grey squirrel spelled disaster for most of the UK's native red squirrels. The greys out-compete the reds for food and also pass diseases such as the parapox virus to the reds. Greys are immune to the virus and simply act as carriers. BoG-WiG supports the Scottish Wildlife Trusts project Savng Scotland's Red Squirrels to help our remaining reds to survive.
Estimates of wildcat numbers in Scotland vary but it is generally believed that there are very few pure wildcats left, if any. The Cairngorms National Park conducted a survey using camera traps to bring the estimate up to date and BoGWiG submitted records from its own cameras to support the project. The Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Project is led by Scottish Natural Heritage and their work has now deduced that the only route to recovery for wildcats is through captive breeding, reinforced with pure wildcats from mainland Europe, coupled with more responsible domestic cat ownership right across Scotland.