Dryomys nitedula (Pallas 1779) Forest Dormouse
Hebrew name: נמנמן עצים, namneman etzim
Global Threat: NT – Near Threatened.
Regional Threat: EN (B) - Endangered.
Distribution area: Mediterraniean woodland in the Upper Galilee. Israel is the southernmost limit of this species’ global distribution area.
Historic distribution: Nevo & Amir (1961, 1964, Nevo 1968) studied and surveyed the forest dormouse in the Galilee during the 1960s and found it in the Upper and Western Galiee (Mt. Meron, Sa’ar). The population was sparse even then: 350 survey hours by experienced observers revealed only 35 forest dormice (Nevo & Amir 1961).
Typical Habitat: Dense Mediterranean woodland with abundant climbing vines.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Maqui reduction and fragmentation.
2. Maqui clearing by grazing, cutting and fire.
3. Beech marten population growth – the natural predator of maqui rodents.
Population Size: The population in the 1960s was distributed over ca. 700 km2. The present distribution area is probably much smaller.
Fluctuations in Population Size: The population has apparently decreased in size and distribution . During the 1980s and early 1990s forest dormice were caught in rodent traps laid on the grounds of the Har Meron Field Study Center; there have been none trapped in recent years. A number of active dormouse nests were found in a preliminary survey held in 2000 in the Mt. Meron Reserve and the Mitspe Hila area (Amit Dolev, pers. comm.)
Isolation between Subpopulations: None.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: A comprehensive survey of Mediterraniean woodland in the Western and Upper Galilee to clarify the size of the population and its distribution.