This paper investigated the reintroduction of the pine marten (Martes martes) in forest ecosystems as an applied conservation tool to control the invasive grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in north Wales.
Through a major culling programme, S. carolinensis were eradicated from Anglesey in 2013; this culling programme allowed the native red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) to repopulate the island. In the neighbouring Gwynedd, captive-bred M. martes were released as an alternative control method and showed typical wild behaviour including territorial marking and food caching.
Recent studies highlighted that an increase in M. martes activity had been associated with a decrease in S. carolinensis populations and a reduction in associated ecological damage. While this study had brought forward the positive aspects of M. martes as a conservation tool, it alone is unlikely to be effective and efficient in controlling the wider populations of S. carolinensis.
Bamber, J.A., Shuttleworth, C.M., Hayward, M.W. and Everest, D.J. (2020). Reinstating trophic cascades as an applied conservation tool to protect forest ecosystems from invasive grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis). Food Webs, 25, p.e00164.