Living the Wild Life

Series 5: Pine Martens

Colin meets artist Richard Ward who has been constantly disturbed by noises in his attic for a few months each summer for the last three years. A female Pine Martin who he calls 'Queen Maeve' made her home in Richards attic, sneaking in through a small hole under the drainpipe and is now returning annually to have her family. Coincidently in 1992 Richard was commissioned to paint an Irish stamp to commemorate one of Irelands most endangered species, he chose the pine marten. Little did he know that 20 years later a family of Pine Martins living under the same roof.

As Colin waits for the kits to get bigger and bolder he heads across the country to Co.Wicklow and the beautiful woodland of Tomnafinneog, near Tinahely. Here he meets with Emma Sheehy. Emma is studying the effects of the pine marten on grey squirrels across Irish woodlands. Emma has found that as Pine Marten numbers increase in an area of Woodland the number of grey squirrels decreases and the number of red squirrels rises. Could our native pine marten be responsible for the possible rise of another of our native species with a difficult past, the red squirrel?

"The aim of our new series has been to find positive stories and show all the good inspiring things that are happening around us and to meet some of the wild and wonderful characters who dedicate their lives to the natural world. "?- Colin Stafford-Johnson, Presenter

If you would like to find out more about pine martens and Emmas project you can go to and to see more of Richards art visit


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