Nest boxes of 'nearly extinct' dormice vandalised - The Leamington Observer

Nest boxes of 'nearly extinct' dormice vandalised

Laura Kearns 21st Sep, 2018   0

THE FUTURE survival of the dormouse is under threat after vandals targeted nest boxes aimed to help save them from extinction.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust released the hazel dormice in a secret Warwickshire location earlier this year.

But staff and volunteers were left ‘devastated’ when they discovered the boxes had been taken down from the trees and emptied. Some of the boxes even had dormouse nests inside, leaving the charity concerned about what has happened to the animals.

Pairs of the rare mice – which are already extinct in some areas – were released in June and have been monitored and had extra food supplied to ensure their survival.

Police are now appealing for information. They say it is illegal to deliberately capture, injure or kill hazel dormice or to damage a dormouse resting place or breeding site.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust spokesman Ian Jelley said: “We were devastated to find that the dormouse nest boxes had been tampered with. The project has been a huge success so far, with the re-introduced dormice breeding in the woodland. However, this vandalism threatens to the future of this species, which is on the brink of extinction in Warwickshire.

“The dormice are legally protected and it is an offence to handle them or interfere with their nests without a license. We hope that by raising awareness of what has happened we can stop any further interference with this scheme and give the dormice a fighting chance at survival.”

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