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Protected Species:


Legal Protection

The pine marten receives full protection under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). In Scotland this is amended by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011

Certain methods of killing or taking pine martens are illegal under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended).

It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly:

  • kill, injure or take a pine marten

  • damage, destroy or obstruct access to a nest or den – i.e. any structure or place which such an animal uses for shelter or protection

  • disturb such an animal when it is occupying a nest or den for shelter or protection (except when this is inside a dwelling house)

Possession, sale and transport offences are ones of strict liability (i.e. they do not require intention or recklessness), as such, it is an offence to

  • possess or control, sell, offer for sale or possess or transport for the purpose of sale any living or dead pine marten or any derivative of such an animal


It is also an offence to knowingly cause or permit any of the above acts to be carried out.


Survey Timings

Scat surveys can be undertaken at any time of the year, however, the optimum time of the year to survey is summer when pine martens are more active and leaf litter is less likely to obscure scats.

Licensable Issues

Basic pine marten surveys do not require a licence provided steps are taken to avoid intentionally or recklessly disturbing pine martens in their dens If this cannot be avoid or if scientific or research activity would result in an offence in relation to pine martens, then a licence should be applied for.

Licences are also required for pine marten translocation projects.

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