Dormice recovery programme

Dormice recovery programme

Hazel dormice: Paignton Zoo breeding for reintroduction.

Hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) are tiny nocturnal mammals with golden-brown fur and large black eyes. They have disappeared from half of their former range in the UK in the last 100 years due to habitat destruction and fragmentation but due to a successful reintroduction programme they are now returning to some of these parts of Britain.

Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) manage this project and Paignton Zoo became involved in 2000 working with a range of institutions involved with breeding dormice. Each year dormice are bred at Paignton Zoo for release at sites carefully selected by staff from the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). These sites are regularly checked as part of the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, and this monitoring has shown that dormice have successfully bred at release sites. The releases are part of a wider project aimed to increase habitat and bring more woodland and hedgerow into suitable management for dormice and many other species.


Hazel dormice, their breeding sites and resting places are protected by law.