Today is a big day! To celebrate the start of National Biodiversity Week we are launching the full report from our Snapshot Europe project 2022. This is the largest camera trap survey ever conducted in Ireland and it was carried out right here in Wicklow through a partnership between ReWild Wicklow volunteers and students and staff of UCD and the University of Freiburg, Germany.
The results are fascinating and the full report is available to download for free from our website here.
It reveals the most common mammals in the woodlands of central Wicklow are in order: Sika deer, red fox, red squirrel, pine marten, badger and mountain hare. Sika deer accounted for 82% of all wild mammal sightings and this will be no surprise to those who live and walk in the Wicklow Mountains. The sheer abundance of this species, which was introduced to Ireland, further supports the need for an effective county-wide deer management plan as soon as possible.
But there is a positive story as well when we look at the number of pine marten captured on our cameras and their spread across the county! This shows there has been a really good continued recovery of them in Wicklow over the past twenty years or so based on comparisons to past studies. And the increase in pine marten numbers is most likely helping the red squirrel recover as well as other studies have shown pine marten presence reduces the number of grey squirrels more than red squirrels. In fact our survey captured no grey squirrels at all across an area they were once present in only 10 years ago!
This project was supported by funding from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Local Authority Waters Programme and we'd also like to thank everyone who sponsored cameras in memory of loved ones or in the name of their local business such as: Greenscene Group, Jacksmill Forest Gardens HUB13 and Special Ops.
Plans for Snapshot Europe 2023 are already under way and we hope to expand the project area again this year into the Vale of Clara and Devil’s Glen woodlands. We are now seeking donations to sponsor additional cameras with more details on our website.
We'd also love to see other counties take part in Snapshot Europe this year, there is so much potential for this citizen science all across Ireland!