Tunnel of love puts mice in the mood

PUBLISHED: 11:43 17 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 24 May 2010

ROMANTIC engineers have been playing cupid for a group of trapped dormice by helping them find new mates to multiply with. When wildlife experts at a television company were filming a show in Cheddar they discovered a trapped colony of dormice in a quarry

ROMANTIC engineers have been playing cupid for a group of trapped dormice by helping them find new mates to multiply with.When wildlife experts at a television company were filming a show in Cheddar they discovered a trapped colony of dormice in a quarry. The tiny creatures were in danger of dying out because they did not have enough mates to breed with. They called on the help of Openreach, a division of BT, whose workers used their experience in putting up telephone poles to create a 'tunnel of love' for the tiny creatures to crawl through and meet other mice.The dormice live in a canopy of trees in Batts Combe Quarry and can now reignite their love lives by crawling through the 25m wire mesh tunnel across the road to romance new mates.Cameras in the tunnel will record how many dormice use it and it is hoped their numbers will increase after meeting their neighbours across the road.An Openreach spokesman said: "This was one of the strangest and most challenging projects we have ever undertaken."We had to drill through granite to ensure the structure was safe and secure - but it was worth all the hard work to help ensure the future of the quarry dormice. Our experience was needed because we were used to putting up poles in places like this. To get it near the canopy of the trees we had to put it seven metres above the ground."The television company, RDF Media, was filming a programme about the difficulties animals in Britain face.A spokesman said: "Had they been unable to mix with other dormice they could have died out as the gene pool would have been too small. "It is vital they have access to different dormice and the tunnel should be the answer.

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