Meanwhile, In Longford



A lamb that was attacked by a pine marten on Pauraic Brady’s farm

Anthony Jordan, in the Farmer’s Journal, reports:

Numerous pine marten attacks on livestock have been reported by farmers in Co Longford, the Irish Farmers Journal has learned. Farmers in the Midlands have expressed concerns and anger over increased attacks on animals by pine martens.

The attacks have been ongoing over the past 18 months, with fowl and sheep being the most targeted livestock.

Farmer Michael Quinn has been the victim of numerous pine marten attacks in the last two years, with seven lambs killed this year and four killed the year before.

“It is not nice to go out and see your stock attacked and killed by a pine marten,” Quinn told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“Every morning you go out you hope that there is no damage done in your field. It is really hurting farmers around the area.”

Recently, a farmer had €600 worth of pheasants wiped out in a single pine marten attack, while another farmer reported that a dog was attacked.

Drumlish farmer Pauraic Brady, who has had two lamb fatalities himself this year, believes that the situation has become critical around the county.

“Farmers are coming to the stage where they are fed up. Fowl is being wiped out, lambs are being attacked and the cost for farmers from vet’s bills is extensive.”

Pine martens have been protected in Ireland since 1994 under the Habitat Directive, but Brady, who is also a local councillor, believes numbers are rampant in Longford.

“The population has become out of control in the county. I know of up to 20 farmers who have had stock attacked. It is coming to the stage where something has to be done.”

The Irish Farmers Journal has been in contact with the Department of Art, Heritage and the Gealtacht on the topic but has not received any comment on the issue.

There are fresh calls from local farmers to have to the protected status of the pine marten lifted after the series of attacks on livestock.

Pine marten?

Pine marten attacks sheep in Longford (Irish Farmers Journal)

Thanks Aisling Hussey

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46 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Longford

  1. Sheila

    My dad has had pine martens on his land for at least the last ten years and they have never attacked or worried any of the sheep or lambs in any way. The only trouble have been from local dog owners not controlling their hounds.

  2. Murtles

    Is this a new thing, attacking lambs? They’ve gone to hell since they broke up. Still great song though.
    ♫ It’s Happy Hour again and again and again, it’s Happy Hour again ♫

  3. Grouse

    Are these the same pine martens who are turning back the tide of grey squirrels and returning the habitat to native red squirrel when all else has failed?

    We live on an island almost entirely denuded of its natural wildlife. The pine marten population resurgence is one of the few good news stories for our ecosystem in the last century. I’m siding with the pine martens on this one.

  4. Turgenev

    it wouldn’t be minks, I suppose?

    What about live trapping them and bringing them down to Cork and siccing them on the giant rats? Win-win.

    1. bisted

      …yep…sounds like mink to me…and as someone else said above there’s probably a grant being proposed. Trouble is, the people who will be first in to claim these grants are the people who poison eagles and kites and grub up hedgerows. But it wasn’t greedy farmers who were responsible for releasing farmed mink into the countryside…

  5. Bubbles

    Pine martens are tiny, a bit bigger than a squirrel, and though they are plucky little fellas there’s no way one would do the sort of damage mentioned above. Longford has a mink problem though, and they are much more likely to attack lambs.

    1. youkilledmyfatherpreparetodie

      Um, no – Size-wise you’re thinking of stoats. Pine martens are about the same size as a cat.

      1. Bubbles

        Nope, they’re smaller than a cat. I have a few on my land in the wild west that I frequently film with a motion-trigger IR camera. The same camera is often jammed with footage of my stupid but handsome cat, who is below average size but looks like a beast of the Serengeti when compared with the pine marten in footage shot from an identical perspective. (I also have badgers and foxes in the same patch, if anybody is interested. and a hen harrier, not that I like to boast. I strongly suspect there’s an otter in the river but I can’t get a camera that won’t be triggered by the water. No stoats though.)
        I grew up in the misty midlands, and if your hens were killed it was more likely to be a mink than anything else. The Inny used to be full of them.

  6. Cup of tea anyone?

    There is a problem down home where a fox attacked some sheep so the farmer got the local lads to shoot a few fox’s. Next season there were a surprisingly large number of rabbits and they started eating crops and grass so the farmer got the lads back. They posted the slaughter on FB. At least 25 rabbits in a day. But sure now what will the remaining fox’s eat?

    The only predator these Pine Marten have in this country are fox’s and sure in our area they have all been shot.

    And the lads who shoot them are such wasters. I dont think they have been off the dole since school. they couldnt get a job during the Celtic tiger so that says a lot about them.

  7. Gearóid

    The Midlands has long had an issue with the pine marten, particularly in identifying it:

    “Michael Newman (FG), who lost his seat in the recent elections, was among councillors who spoke against three SPAs at the last meeting of Westmeath County Council.
    “We are seeing species that have never been seen before in Ireland being introduced by these people. Look at the pine marten, the most nasty vicious bird that you have ever seen. They were never in Ireland but have been introduced.”
    But in a statement at the weekend, the Irish Wildlife Trust welcomed the designations and accused the councillor of displaying a staggering ignorance of wildlife. “The pine marten is not, in fact, a bird, but a mammal, and a native Irish one at that,” said IWT chairman Pádraic Fogarty.”

    1. ReproBertie

      Flying pine martens and hungry gondolas. That’s what has this country in the state it’s in.

    2. Tish Mahorey

      “Look at the pine marten, the most nasty vicious bird ”

      Major LOLz.

      But in fairness, I always think a Pinemarten is a bird before I remember my common mistake.

  8. Bort

    A handful of dead lambs surely that is enough reason to eradicate the Pine Martin, a few dead Salmon? Eradicate the seals, deer eating too much grass? Eradicate them

      1. Owensie

        Eradication means extinction, culling means managing the population.
        I say bring back wolves.

  9. Jake38

    Pine Martens are an endangered part of our natural habitat. Sheep have turned the country into a green desert. I know whose side i’m on.

  10. David

    Don’t go taking it on other creatures. If you want to keep animals, erect a (whatever)-proof enclosure for them. Sure, us taxpayers will pay for it, as usual.

  11. Joachim Gillespie

    Pine Martens are more common than you think. Females have litters 12-15 times per year where the female gives birth to between 40-50 fully grown adults.

    These adults possess enough venom in their claws to kill between 4 and 5 herds of African elephants, [or between 5 and 6 herds of Indian elephants if you prefer].

    They have a highly tuned sense of smell and are particularly dangerous during breezy weather where they become confused and agitated by the different scents of animals swirling around them and will often attack livestock such as sheep and, indeed, humans as they feel they are under threat.

    In some remote parts of rural Ireland more dogs and cats are killed by aggressive pine martens than road vehicles.

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      Some say they are the size of four cats and have a retractable leg so it can leap at you better.

    2. Nigel

      They’ve been known to marry careless, short-sighted bachelors and turn their farms into hipster country craft boutiques.

  12. Truth in the News

    The Pine Marten population is out of control and needs culling, they even break
    into buildings and home’s and also have a sweet tooth and a well honed sense
    of smell, to assert that they only kill or atack grey squirrels and ignore the red
    ones is false. and their damage to wild birds is just as bad as the cat, who ever
    gave them a protective status knew little about their habits, if they enter your
    dwelling the NPWS have a duty to trap and remove them.

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