Nest boxes for very rare dormouse

 

In Europe, 5 dormice occur – Garden dormouse, Fat dormouse, Hazel dormouse, Forest Dormouse and the Mouse-tailed dormouse (Myomimus roachi) - one of the rarest rodent species in the Western Palearctic, possibly the rarest mammal species in Europe. It occurs only in a small area in Bulgaria and Turkey and several isolated locations in western Anatolia. Maybe it occurs also in Greece. But that is not known!

The Mouse-tailed dormouse inhabits extensively used agricultural lands, a habitat that is rapidly disappearing from Europe. Together with the National Museum of Natural History Bulgaria, we started a project to safeguard its existence in Europe.

First live catch since 1978

The species has not been seen in Bulgaria since 1978 and was almost considered extinct. Till in 2017, a new live population was found in the most south-eastern part of Bulgaria. To fill the gaps in the knowledge about this species, the Bulgarian researcher Nedko Nedyalkov started a small scale research, monitoring and conservation project. He placed nest boxes and cameras in the new areas, where the species was reported. The nest boxes are used by the dormice to sleep during the day. This facilitates the monitoring of population changes and the collection of samples for DNA analysis. Nedko also wants to start a survey in Greece to find out if the species (still) occurs there.

Research for habitat management

It is known that this species lives in open and semi-open habitats. Usually uses old oaks, walnuts and pears, close or in agricultural fields. This makes him very vulnerable to agricultural practices. Unknown is how he uses these habitats. The nest boxes and cameras will provide new insights into the habitat preferences of the Mouse-tailed dormouse and enable the collection of data on its biology and ecology (diet, activity, population structure and genetics, parasites). Currently, only part of Nedko’s work is financed by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). You can help Nedko to gather the remaining funds. Make a small donation. The money will be used to place extra nest boxes in 3 new locations and to visit them at least twice per year (about 3000 km).

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  1. Establish long-term monitoring.
  2. Learn more about the species’:
    - Habitat preferences;
    - Population and genetic structure;
    - Diet and food preferences;
    - Parasites;
    - Relation with the rest of dormice species and small mammals;
    - Status in Greece.
  3. Develop a species action plan for the conservation of the species in Bulgaria.

PROJECT PARTNERS

National Museum of Natural History, Sofia, Bulgaria

BUDGET NEEDED

  • Production of 100 nest boxes: € 750.-
  • 3000 km travel costs: € 7,500.-

 

SPONSOR

People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)

REFERENCES

 

SUPPORT THIS PROJECT WITH A DONATION

Received donations by Frans De Schamphelaere, Rollin Verlinde, Márton Szabolcs, Lucas Bergmans, Robbert Leysen, Sim Broekhuizen, Glenn Lelieveld, Zsolt Hegyeli, Jaap van Wingerde, Karen Bigmore, Silvia Peerenboom, Heleentje De Brouwer, Dr Franz-Rainer Matuschka, Fokko Erhart, Kirsten Hinze, and four anonymous donors.

NEWS

National species action plan for the Mouse-tailed dormouse

30 Mouse-tailed dormice!

The first Mouse-tailed dormice of the year are caught

PTES finances Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse

Nest boxes for Mouse-tailed dormouse

Nedko Nedyalkov at the International Dormouse Conference

Rare Dormouse finally found in Bulgaria