A new Mammals on Roads app has been created to enable sightings of Britain’s mammals to be recorded on the move. This will allow wildlife charity, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), to identify changes in population numbers and help conservation.
The app, for iOS9 and above, and Android 7, is free, easy to use, and boasts charming graphics of a whole host of mammals, from hedgehogs and hares, to badgers and bats. There are also informative audio descriptions, providing useful background information and insights into the lives of these creatures.
David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES explained more: “Data gathered from Mammals on Roads is vital to conservation work. The survey has been running for over 15 years, which allows us to compare data year on year, and identify where we need to focus our conservation efforts.”
The new app is part of PTES’ Mammals on Roads survey, which takes place annually between July and September. To take part, members of the public are asked to record sightings of Britain’s mammals – dead or alive – during car journeys of 20 miles or more on a single day, outside of built up areas.
David continues: “While recording roadkill can be a little gruesome, higher levels of roadkill can actually indicate a healthy population of mammals nearby. We hope this new app will engage new audiences, who already have mobile technology at their fingertips, with wildlife conservation, in addition to our many fantastic volunteers who take part each year by logging sightings online or via a survey pack.”
To take part, you can download the free Mammals on Roads app from the App Store or Google Play. Alternatively, the survey can be completed via the PTES website or via a printed survey pack. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 498 4533 to request a pack to be sent to you.
The Mammals on Roads survey runs from Tuesday 4th July until 30th September 2017.
Using the findings
Since 2001, over half a million kilometres of Britain’s roads have been surveyed through Mammals on Roads, with previous data alerting conservationists at PTES to the dramatic fall in native hedgehog numbers. These findings resulted in the launch of the nationwide campaign Hedgehog Street in 2011 with partner charity the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, which to date has 44,000 ‘Hedgehog Champions’ pledging to help protect this species from further decline. Further research is also being undertaken to investigate the reasons behind the decline, showing the true power of citizen science and what the British public can help conservationists achieve.
Jamie Lemon from tech company, dijipiji, who developed the app for iOS9 users said: “Putting together apps and wildlife might seem counterintuitive at first, but what they give you – real-time mapping and big data analysis – are powerful conservation tools. This new technology enables us to help monitor and protect our natural environment: with the right app, we can all play a critical role in conservation.”