Pine Martens may be reintroduced into the south east, partly as a means of controlling numbers of grey squirrels. Now, people are being asked to contribute their views to a group of conservationists examining the feasibility of returning the mustelid to the region.The Pine Marten Restoration Project is a partnership between Kent Wildlife Trust, Wildwood Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Ashdown Forest and Forestry England .

The Pine Marten was a regular sight in Britain until the 19th century, when its numbers fell dramatically due to hunting and habitat loss. The creatures make an important contribution in creating a biodiverse environment by dispersing the seeds of the fruits they eat, as well as influencing small mammal populations by preying on other animals as part of their varied diet. This includes preying on poultry and game, as foxes do - something that can cause problems.

The project is developing a 10-year strategy, working with over 35 organisations as well as groups of local people, ensuring that all voices are heard. Throughout 2024, social and ecological studies will continue and part of that will involve examining the habitat in the south east to see if it is suitable for Pine Marten but also how local people feel about the project and if they would support it moving forward.

Human-Wildlife Co-existence Officer for Kent Wildlife Trust, Amy Fitzmaurice, says, 'We are at the very beginning of a long journey and the voice of the community is at the heart of the project. I would like to encourage people to visit our website, sign up for updates and join the community volunteer group to assist with wildlife surveys. This is a collaborative effort, and we want to hear from as many people as possible, so check out our website, and sign up to attend a focus group.”

People can find out more about the project by signing up for updates and following the organisations either via social media or at