This summer, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling on the public to record sightings of mammals, dead or alive, whilst driving along Britain’s road network as part of its annual Mammals on Roads survey. The information will help to spot changing trends in populations and identify where conservation action is needed most.
According to a recent report by the Mammal Society, compiled with PTES’ help, one in five wild mammal species in Britain is at risk of extinction. But getting an idea of the size of populations and how numbers are changing remains difficult.
David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES explains: “At the moment, a lot of what we know is still a ‘best guess’ and what we really need are good records of mammals and of all sorts of species, more generally. Better estimates of numbers will help us understand our wildlife and the ‘natural health’ of the nation.” David continues: “Together with the more traditional, paper-based methods, we hope the app will encourage more people to get involved in conservation and wildlife recording. The survey, of course, should only be done by passengers in the car – drivers should always have their full attention on the road and other vehicles.”
This year, the survey runs from Sunday 1st July through to Sunday 30th September and participants in this citizen science project can take part either online or via an app on a smart phone or tablet.
Over the three summer months, PTES is asking families, car-sharing commuters or anyone on Britain’s roads, to record sightings of mammals and submit the records online, or with the Mammals on Roads app (available for free from the App Store or Google Play). Alternatively, a printed survey pack can be requested by emailing the charity.
The annual Mammals on Roads survey will help ongoing conservation efforts, building a countrywide picture from records submitted by the public of how the numbers of hedgehogs, badgers and other species are changing.
The survey, along with others that PTES runs, plays a vital role in the ongoing conservation of British wildlife. Previous findings have revealed the shocking decline in hedgehog numbers, which led to the launch of the nationwide campaign Hedgehog Street (run with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society), which now has almost 50,000 volunteers committed to helping save the humble hedgehog.