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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 14:55 GMT
Delight at pine marten discovery
Pine marten
The pine marten is on the verge of extinction in England
Pine martens in Aberfoyle have stunned nature experts in the area by raiding squirrel peanut feeders for food.

Newly captured CCTV footage features the rare and notoriously shy animals opening a hinged lid to get the nuts.

Staff at the Forestry Commission's David Marshall Lodge say the animal has appeared four times in the last fortnight to raid the feeder.

Pine martens, which are found in the Highlands, are thought to be on the verge of extinction in England.

It is very unusual and fascinating to watch
Dave Anderson
Forestry Commission Scotland

Dave Anderson, of Forestry Commission Scotland, described the footage as remarkable and fascinating.

He said: "It's quite a remarkable bit of film.

"Pine martens are very shy and elusive creatures and they are also usually active at night.

"They are also pretty rare, although over the past few years the population appears to have grown in this area. Seeing one behave in this manner in broad daylight is a real treat."

Mr Anderson said it was possible that it was the same animal raiding the feeder each time.

He added: "We have no idea how it has learned to do this, whether this is observed behaviour or it has scented out the nuts and learned how to get at them for itself, but it is very unusual and fascinating to watch."



SEE ALSO
Highland wildlife on updated list
28 Aug 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Skye pine martens branching out
20 Mar 07 |  Highlands and Islands
'Extinct' pine marten in comeback
26 Oct 04 |  North Yorkshire

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