This week sees our three rare Pine Martens move on to the next stage of their rehabilitation, which will see them return fully to the wild in a matter of weeks.
For those of you who haven’t been following their tale on our Facebook page, here is the story so far.
The three seven week old orphaned Pine Martens arrived from Mayo on the June 6 last.
They were found trying to suckle their dead mother the day before - she had just been killed by a car. Luckily, a passer-by saw them and cared enough to call someone to help them.
A humane trap was set near the dead female and two kits, as they are called, were caught that night and one the following morning.
Cameron, the NPWS ranger who kindly trapped them, brought the kits to the National Animal Centre in Longford where Cathy Griffin was waiting for their arrival. Cathy then made the trip to Kilcock where we were waiting.
We quickly brought them back to the shelter to assess their condition. The female was much smaller than the two males; she was quiet and dehydrated so we gave her some fluids and antibiotics to perk her up.
The next day all three were doing much better, so we brought them to the vet for a full health check. They were then micro chipped and hair samples taken for DNA purposes which will be genotyped in the future and which will help maintain the species in years to come.
Once they were eating by themselves, they were moved to a pen where they could climb and play. They quickly grew out of that pen and were moved to a larger one which was designed especially for them.
They had large branches to climb and swinging branches to move along. This was the closest thing to their natural environment as possible therefore giving them the best chance when they go back to the wild.
They have been with us for eight weeks now and are ready to return to their homeland.
A large pen has been set up in the middle of a wood and in about a months’ time they will be fitted with radio collars before they are released.
They will then be tracked for three months so we can learn about their behaviours. It is also to prove that rehabilitating and releasing wild animals really does work.
We all here at Kildare Animal Foundation are delighted to be apart of Ireland’s first ever post release monitoring project. A huge thank you to the Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust for asking us to be involved.