In 2010 alcathoe bats were discovered in woodland in the North York Moors National Park in April – one of only two places in the UK where this tiny flying mammal has so far been spotted. Park staff are hoping the area's rich woodland habitat will mean the little fella will stick around!
The second species is that was a new arrival in 2010 was a pair of Montagu’s harriers. The couple chose to set up home in the park this year for the first time in 50 years. They fledged three chicks and staff and birdwatchers are keeping their fingers crossed that they return again in 2011.
The Esk is the only river in Yorkshire with a population of freshwater pearl mussels and one of only 11 rivers in England that is home to the species which:
In the Esk, only a small number of mussels are left (around 1,000). The vast majority are old (60+ years old). Without action, within 30 years there will be no pearl mussels left in the Esk.
Started in January 2008, the four-year £260,000 Esk Pearl Mussel and Salmon Recovery Project was set up to save the freshwater pearl mussel from extinction and to halt the decline of Atlantic salmon and brown/sea trout populations (which act as hosts for the larval stage of the mussel’s lifecycle).
A wide variety of river restoration work is being carried out along the Esk to restore the river habitat for these species including:
In addition to the above, a number of mussels from the Esk are also in a breeding programme in the Lake District. They bred successfully in 2008 and there are currently around 500 juveniles growing and developing. These will be reintroduced to the Esk once conditions have improved.