A helping hand has been given to a tiny member of Denbighshire’s wild animal population.

Denbighshire County Council’s Biodiversity team has prepared vital support this year to help boost the county’s dormouse population.

As part of their role to support protected species the team has been busy making sure the small at-risk animal has adequate homes to go to for breeding this season.

Dormouse populations are at risk across the UK with numbers fallen by over 50 percent since 1995.

The reduction in ancient woodland and hedgerows across the country has impacted on populations with dormice not willing to leave the safety of tree areas to cross large spaces, leaving the animals more vulnerable to declining in numbers.

A lack of traditional woodland management has also left fewer ideal habitats for the animals to live in and climate change impact on seasonal weather can wake dormice early from hibernation when there is less food about for their needs.

Dormouse are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. They are also a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework and listed as a European Protected Species

Liam Blazey, Senior Biodiversity Officer, explained: “Dormice have declined rapidly and as they are a priority species are doing everything we can across the county to give them support to survive.”

“Dormouse boxes have been set up around wooded areas as the animal likes to nest at the base of trees or in logs, they can breed up to seven young in the summer and during the autumn they become the perfect spots for hibernation.

“The team has worked hard recently to clean out all the boxes we have to get them ready for the current breeding season and provide the dormice with habitats that will provide the food and materials they need survive.

Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport and Biodiversity Champion, added: “Part of the role of our Biodiversity team is to also provide the protection and support to at risk animals in the county. We are grateful for the team for carrying out this habitat management to provide this at-risk little animal with the best support possible for the future.”