Animal Management: Endangered Dormice Breeding Success
Lewis Carroll's Alice might have encountered a hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) during the Mad Hatter's tea party, but few of us have been lucky enough to see let alone handle one!
These little mammals are largely nocturnal and, being agile climbers, can live their entire lives off the ground. However, properly coppiced woodland is scarce and a loss of mature hedgerows means that Britain's dormouse is threatened.
Bede's is therefore helping to redress this. Under a licensed arrangement with Paignton Zoo, teachers and students at the school's Animal Management Unit have become part of the captive breeding programme for dormice and have successfully bred ten juveniles during the last two years.
These are due to be released next year at a secret location in the West Midlands, after having been given a clean bill of health by London Zoo.