The Wildwood Trust is asking people to report any sightings of a Pine Marten that has been spotted over recent weeks in Broadstairs/Kingsgate.
It is a mystery how the animal has come to be in Thanet as Pine Martens are mostly found in the north of the UK, particularly Scotland.
The mammal is mostly chestnut-brown in colour with a characteristic pale yellow ‘bib’ on its chin and throat. Each pine marten has a uniquely shaped bib, allowing individuals to be identified by the pattern. The Pine Marten also has a long, bushy tail.
Pine Martens prefer woodland habitats, climbing very well and living in tree holes, old squirrel drays or even old bird nests. They feed on small rodents, birds, eggs, insects and fruit.
There have been several sighting of the animal in Broadstairs through June and July.
A spokesperson for Wildwood Trust said: “Our absolute priority is the well-being of this charismatic animal. That is why we are monitoring its movements and working with others to ensure that an appropriate course of action for this lone Pine Marten is found.
“It is out of its current range and a mystery as to where it came from.”
It is illegal to trap the Pine Marten without a licence from Natural England. The animal is not harmful to humans. The Wildwood Trust would recommend that the public do not try and feed it.
Recent research suggests that the Pine Marten might be helping with the recovery of the red squirrel. They found that numbers of red squirrels are on the increase in areas where pine martens also live.