The Yorkshire Pine Marten Project cameras have thrown up a mustelid – not the one we were after, but still a pleasant find.
However, its good news for another reason; this weasel is checking out a smell lure.
Each of the project camera traps has an accompanying smell lure. This lure consists of a tin with 1cm holes drilled in it.
It’s then stuffed with things like salmon paste, fish roe, pilchards etc; stuff that after a few days in the woods begins to absolutely stink!
They are then covered at the top to keep as much rainwater out as possible, and are tied about 2m off the ground to stop the majority of animals being able to reach them.
The hope is that the extremely strong, putrid smell, that carries for quite a distance, will attract carnivores and scavengers… like pine marten.
The new tins haven’t been out for long, but this weasel capture is extremely encouraging and suggests that they are working!
Weasel are not considered to be rare in the UK (though may be declining), but their small-size and mean that they can be difficult to spot. They are also natural enemies of gamekeepers, so to get a snap of one on the North York Moors is good news.
Now we just have to hope that any elusive pine marten catches an enticing whiff of these smelly tins!