Students stumble across new species

The students were working with camera traps loaned by the North East Biological Records Centre (Nesbrec)
The students were working with camera traps loaned by the North East Biological Records Centre (Nesbrec)

Students Laura Mann, from Stonehaven and Gus Routledge have recently discovered that they’re sharing their Aberdeen campus with some pine martens.

As part of their studies at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) the Countryside Management students carried out a survey of their campus, based on the Craibstone estate, to find out which mammals are living there - and to their delight they discovered that a new species has taken up residence.

The pine marten is related to stoats and otters but has adapted to living in trees. It was captured on a specialised camera which has an infrared beam triggered by movement, therefore allowing it to record at night. The students also captured footage of badgers, red squirrels, foxes and roe deer.

Laura and Gus have been baiting sites in front of the camera with peanut butter sandwiches. Laura said “It’s great to be able to come out of a lecture where we have been learning about wildlife surveys and be able to undertake our own, with such exciting results.

“We have helped to chart the range expansion of this attractive animal.”