Ingham’s World 4th December-Polecat increase
The brown masked polecat often looks mischievous. But this hunter from the hedgerows is a miracle worker;it’s increasing its population. Once widespread across Britain, they were virtually hunted to extinction. And just 100 years ago it was clinging on with its claws in its last stronghold in mid-Wales. But fortuantately with legal protection and a boost in its favourite prey, rabbits, have sent numbers bouncing back. And there is still chance to help the the Vincent Wildlife Trust chart its distribution by sending sightings to its National Polecat Survey which runs till the end of this month. This the third survey since the 90’s and the VWT says there are signs of a good recovery. This animal closely related to stoats and weasels have now spread as far as South Yorkshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Kent and Devon. Sadly half of the sightings have been of ones run over on roads. But if you don’t see a polecat, John Ingham thinks you’ll see a red squirrel or a fox. And you could help the Mammal Society in its last push for the National Mammal Atlas Project, the first in 20 years to map the distribution of every UK species. It has 43,000 sightings of polecats already but wants other mammals too. John Ingham has already sent in sightings of molehills and a roe deer antler in his garden in Surrey.
Crime against wildlife is still at play. Last year the RSPB had reports of 251 legally protected birds including buzzards and peregrines being shot or poisoned.