The UK’s native hazel dormouse is in trouble as its natural habitat disappears. This already shy creature is in danger of disappearing altogether.
A combination of poor woodland and hedgerow management, tree disease and the loss of almost a hundred ancient woods across the UK, have all affected the dormouse’s natural habitat.
The species is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, however the decline in numbers has been monitored for the last 100 years, with a loss of half its population. It is also extinct in many counties, particularly in the north.
The hazel dormouse is a shy creature, with healthy numbers only in rich, well-managed woodland. Its presence often indicates a well-balanced ecology.
The Woodland Trust is conscious of the decline and is encouraging people to plant trees and create woodland.
John Tucker, director of the woodland creation, said: “The only way to ensure the survival of this much loved species is to create stronger, more resilient landscapes by planting more native trees and diverse woods, bringing back hedgerows to create wildlife corridors connecting woods in the landscape.”