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Hazel dormice have declined by 70% since 2000, new report finds - People’s Trust for Endangered Species

Small golden coloured dormouse curled up green hazel leaves fast asleep
A native hazel dormouse in leaves. (Credit Michael Walker.)

A landmark report published today [10th November 2023] by wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) reveals that Britain’s native hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) population has declined by a staggering 70% since 2000 and have been lost from 20 English counties since the Victorian times.

The State of Britain’s Dormice 2023 report is the most up to date and comprehensive overview of how Britain’s dormice are faring. Habitat loss, degradation and poor management of Britain’s woodlands and hedgerows, compounded by a changing climate, are cited as the main reasons for the decline. It’s thought that native dormouse populations have become locally extinct from 20 English counties since Victorian times; dormice have been lost from Staffordshire, Northumberland and Hertfordshire since the last State of Britain’s Dormice report was published in 2019.

Dormice may also be at greater risk of extinction than recognised by their current classification of ‘Vulnerable’. The new report, and other recent research, suggests that dormice should be classified as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List. A revised classification would make them a higher priority species and could result in increased targeted conservation efforts, which would help in reversing their chronic decline.

Data collected for this report is from PTES’ National Dormouse Monitoring Programme (NDMP) – the longest running small terrestrial mammal monitoring programme in the world – which began in 1990. PTES and volunteers regularly check hundreds of dormouse nest boxes located at NDMP woodland sites across the country and record dormouse numbers. This gives a valuable insight into how populations are changing in our woodlands, but the report highlights the need for increased surveying to take place in addition to NDMP checks, and in a greater diversity of habitats.

Ian White, Dormouse & Training Officer at People’s Trust for Endangered Species explains: “The wealth of data from our monitoring programme gives a unique insight into how dormice are faring and contributes to major reports such as the recent State of Nature, which drives wider conservation efforts. If the decline continues at the same rate, in another 30 years dormouse populations will have fallen by 94% since 2000, which we simply cannot let happen.”
To read the full report, and to find out more about PTES’ dormouse conservation work, visit: www.ptes.org/dormice

Read more about 30 years of putting hazel dormice back where they belong, in this article written for CJS by PTES in June.


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Posted On: 10/11/2023

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