The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is asking members of the public to look out for mammals in the green spaces around their homes and places of work as part of their annual survey, Living with Mammals.
Now in its 12th year, the 2014 survey begins on Monday 31 March and volunteers are asked to take part in at least eight of the thirteen weeks to the end of June.
The citizen science project not only acts as an important environmental inventory, but by recording the public’s observations of mammals and their tell-tale signs in the built environment, the results help provide a picture of how towns and cities can support our native wildlife. Volunteers are required to select a site and monitor the mammals they see there over the survey period, reporting their sightings online at the PTES website.
Gardens, allotments, cemeteries, recreational grassland, industrial and brown field sites, derelict spaces, railway embankments and roadside verges, as well as isolated pockets of heath and woodland are all typical survey sites and provide important refuges for our urban wildlife neighbours.
David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES says, “By carefully identifying and counting the mammals that live in and around built-up land, we can begin to understand and encourage the biodiversity on our doorstep.”
Last year’s survey revealed that hedgehog records continued a downward trend. Just over a third of volunteer sites recorded hedgehogs, with the figure being the second lowest since the survey started. Green spaces such as neighbourhood gardens are important habitats for hedgehogs but are often fragmented by garden fencing, creating impassable barriers for hedgehogs and making searches for food and mates much more difficult.
Mammals recorded in previous surveys include bats, deer, shrews, hedgehogs, voles, squirrels and otters and this year PTES is running a competition for people to submit their best mammal photos during the survey period. To take part in the 2014 Living with Mammals survey, register online at www.ptes.org