Scientists find dormice at new site in Carmarthenshire

Research and monitoring by a partnership of organisations working for wildlife conservation in Carmarthenshire, including Swansea University College of Science, has demonstrated the presence of hazel dormice at a new site near Llannon.

Dormouse boxes had been put only this spring, by staff and volunteers from the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Carmarthenshire County Council, on land near Brynwithan, just outside Llannon.

600 x 400The land was bought 2 years ago by the Council as part of their Mynydd Mawr project, a conservation initiative mitigating the impacts of development in the Cross Hands area on the protected marsh fritillary butterfly and its marshy grassland habitat. The site is also directly adjacent to Rhos Cefn Bryn nature reserve (owned and managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales) which already supports a good population of marsh fritillaries.

Dormice were already known to be present in the adjacent nature reserve’s woodland and hedgerows, and the Wildlife Trust had previously identified through a landscape-scale assessment that the surrounding countryside offered important habitat for this protected species.

However dormice can be elusive, and their presence hard to prove; it can be many years before they appear in boxes that are put up for them. So it was of great excitement to establish their presence on this newly acquired conservation land within months of beginning the survey.

Dr Wendy Harris from Swansea University undertakes the monitoring of dormice at Brynwithan and helps with the monitoring at Rhos Cefn Bryn.

Dr Wendy Harris said:

“We were very excited to find dormice using the boxes so soon after they were placed by volunteers.  This positive result reflects the importance and value of the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme in identifying and protecting these habitats, and ultimately these special animals.”

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The Wildlife Trust, Swansea University and Carmarthenshire County Council will continue to collaborate to improve the conservation value of this fantastic area for both marsh fritillaries and dormice.

Courtesy of Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

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