The common dormouse is no longer 'common'. Because of its serious decline, it is listed as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) species. English Nature has also included it in their Species Recovery Programme (SRP). The initial objectives for saving the dormouse included gaining more knowledge as to its range and numbers, securing the existing populations, promoting suitable woodland management and re-introducing animals to appropriate sites.
Because of its popularity with the public and its potential as an excellent 'indicator species' the dormouse became the centre of a publicity campaign designed to draw attention to the threat to the animal and its habitat. This included producing information on the value of old, well managed woodland, establishing a National Nest-box Recording Scheme on computer database and involving the public and school children in 'The Great Nut Hunt'.
Part of National Dormouse Week, the Great Nut Hunt encouraged people to search their local woods for signs of nibbled hazel nut shells. Unlike squirrels which open nuts by splitting them, dormice nibble a small hole and extract the kernel piecemeal. The discovery of these nuts, indicating the presence of dormice, showed that the wood was still in a favourable condition. The last Great Nut Hunt took place in 2001.
In 2016, 38 dormice were reintroduced into a woodland area in the Yorkshire Dales in an attempt to stem the decline of the species.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan
for this species is available at UK BAP