Hazel Dormouse from SWEP Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
The tiny common (Hazel) dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) used to be found commonly in areas of deciduous woodland throughout southern England.
It's numbers have declined sharply over recent years, largely as a result of loss of suitable habitat, particularly coppiced woodlands and hedgerows.
Since 2001, staff at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park have co-ordinated the national breeding programme for this species in liaison with English Nature, as part of the Hazel Dormouse Recovery Programme and Biodiversity Action Plan. Their effective establishment of breeding protocols and pre-release veterinary screening at Paignton and ZSL, as well as research into appropriate diets to ensure natural hibernation, have combined to produce considerable success – with three successive annual releases to five woodlands in the UK.
Developed by: SWEP Paignton Zoo Environmental Park