British predators have rebounded

Polecats and other predators are on the rise in the United Kingdom. ©Peter Trimming

Once-endangered carnivorous mammals such as otters, polecats and pine martens have staged a remarkable comeback in Britain in recent decades, a new review shows. The study found that —with the exception of wildcats — the status of Britain’s native mammalian carnivores has “markedly improved” since the 1960s. Researchers say the species largely returned on their own after human activities that reduced their numbers ended or were reduced. Reintroductions also helped some species, including pine martens and otters. Thought must now be given to how growing numbers of these animals interact with humans, the researchers say. Wildcats remain the exception to the growing numbers. Some estimates suggest as few as 200 individuals remain, restricted to isolated parts of the Scottish Highlands.

Read more from the University of Exeter’s Wildlife Science group, or read the study in Mammal Review here.