For the first time in 100 years, dormice have the freedom to roam among the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales, thanks to a project to restore their delicate natural habitat. Landowners and farmers in Wensleydale have grown a six-mile continuous stretch of woodland and hedgerows to provide a highway to join up two fledgeling populations of the charming native mammals. Dormice have declined by 51% since 2000, according to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), and the three-year Wensleydale Dormouse Project is just one part of the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, a wider national scheme to reintroduce dormice to parts of the country where they have died out. “They’ve become extinct in 17 English counties in the last 100 years, so it has to be said it doesn’t take a genius to work out there comes a point where, unless we do something, populations either become completely unviable or they’re just pretty much restricted to nature reserves,” said Ian White, PTES dormouse and training officer. Records show that dormice were living in Wensleydale in 1885, but became locally extinct. Though they were reintroduced to one woodland in 2008 and a neighbouring one eight years later, the two […]

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