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Bay St. George a hotspot for pine marten on west coast


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A pine marten is seen in a tree in a Newfoundland forest.

DEER LAKE — Pine marten researcher Glenda Bateman was not exactly surprised by the results from last year’s pine marten tracking program, but it is great to finally have her suspicions confirmed.

Bateman said not all of the numbers are available from last year as of yet, but she said they received 97 hair samples from 56 volunteer groups. From the samples collected, 47 turned out to be marten hair, showing that the species is spreading across the island.

The exciting thing for researchers, she said, was where the small, otter-like animals have been confirmed. They managed to determine that martens are most likely in the Bay St. George area.

“We had no confirmed samples from that area before, so we were very pleased with that,” she said. “We suspected (pine martens) would move out there, we didn’t know that for sure, but now we do.”

Researchers also received results from the Humber Valley area and as far east as the Avalon Peninsula. From the Northern Peninsula they received no samples last year, but Bateman hopes that will change, as so far this year they have one volunteer for the area.

Last year, Bateman, co-ordinator with Codroy Valley’s Intervale, spoke to groups like the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation, along with hunters, hikers or anyone who goes into the woods, trying to recruit volunteers. She was asking for people to help set up baited wooden shelters in wooded areas to collect hair samples from animals to gain information about the province’s pine marten population.

This year she is hoping to get more eager volunteers.

The project is being conducted jointly between Intervale and the provincial wildlife division, and partly funded by the Environment Canada Stewardship Program. Bateman said there is a lot to gain.

“The problem is our information is outdated, and this allows us to gather new information that we don’t have on population and distribution,” she said.

Anyone wishing to volunteer for the program can call 709-640-4696, or send an email to martenvolunteer@gmail.com.

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