In defence of the pine marten
Letter to the Editor, Sunday Independent, 21st August 2016
Sir — Maura Hogan (Letters, Sunday Independent, August 14) accused the pine marten of venturing out of a local forest to engage in multiple cat killings. This conviction was based, not on witnessing any attack taking place, but purely on spotting a pine marten at her shed.
There is actually no evidence to suggest that pine martens kill cats (or, as was claimed, target lambs) and it is highly unlikely that the pine marten was the culprit in this case. Their diet typically consists of fruit, berries, birds, rodents, rabbits, frogs and insects. It is unfortunate that pine martens are being unfairly demonised as it risks sparking further illegal persecution which, along with habitat loss, has driven the species to extinction in many parts of the country.
The pine marten (whose name in Irish translates as ‘tree cat’) is highly protected under national and European legislation. As Ireland’s rarest native mammal, this beautiful bushy-tailed creature should be cherished.
Irish Council Against