These new images and video show rare pine martens enjoying The New Forest, where they have returned and are successfully breeding after an absence of decades

A pair of the rare creatures, a cat-sized member of the weasel family, are seen frolicking on a fallen tree at night, while pictures show individual pine martens up close. 

It comes after a three year study in which conservationists placed 30 hidden cameras in 11 different parts of the national park to observe how these protected animals are returning to the area.

Daily Echo: A pine marten in the New Forest

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The study began after a number of reports of public sightings suggested pine martens may have returned to the New Forest and aims to understand how these rare creatures are settling here and the size of the population.

Daily Echo: A pine marten in the New Forest

A range of techniques were used to study these nocturnal creatures, including hidden cameras and thermal imaging surveys which captured 1,000 hours of footage.