Lincolnshire dormice colony growing, survey finds

A colony of dormice in Lincolnshire has enjoyed a record year, according to a new survey.

Forestry Commission researchers found more than 70 of the protected animals at Chambers Farm Wood during checks on nest boxes carried out in the autumn.

The colony was started in 2002 after the animals became extinct in the county.

The UK dormouse population fell sharply after World War II, mainly due to changing farming practices.

Researchers said the numbers counted were based only on checks on boxes and the real number was likely to be far larger.

Anne Goodall, who is working with the Forestry Commission on the project, said: "Wild nests have also been spotted and half-eaten hazelnuts found in other areas, clearly chewed by dormice.

"This adds up to a tremendous year for the species. Everyone connected with this project is overjoyed by the progress being made."

Conservationists believe the boost may have come from a good crop of hazelnuts and fruit, which form the basic diet of the dormouse.

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