A student in Cornwall filmed a pine marten by chance near his home in southern England. Only later would he find out how significant the sighting really was.
Jack Merritt, an 18-year-old student from Bude, captured footage a pine marten using a night vision camera and a little luck.
The pine marten seen scurrying through the forest in his video appears to be a young female.
“It is quite a shock and I don’t really know what to make of it to be honest,” said Merritt. The young student sent the new footage to ecologist Derek Gow -a specialist in reintroduction of indigenous species- who was taken aback by the thought of the sighting:
To the best of anyone’s knowledge pine martens were believed to be extinct in Southern England after centuries of ruthless persecution by furriers and gamekeepers.
The pine marten in southern England is related to the weasel and was once Britain’s second most common carnivore.
After being hunted for its fur, it was almost sent into extinction in the 1800s, making this sighting all the more exciting.