Monitoring Dormice in the presence of SARS-CoV-2
We appreciate that the recent relaxation of rules governing lockdown in England during the current pandemic means that some of you are keen to get back into the woods to check dormouse boxes. We must stress that while PTES will accept and value any dormouse data that you do obtain from a box check, it is perfectly acceptable if you would prefer not to go out at the current time.
With regard, checking boxes there are two issues:
- Rules and practical application of social distancing
- The risk of transmission of the Covid-19 virus between dormice and monitors. We stress that specific advice about social distancing and travel should adhere to government guidelines, which are regularly reviewed, and subject to change. So please do check. The guidelines can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Now that restrictions allow you to operate outside the boundary of your own property, it is essential that permission to carry out surveys is sought from the relevant landowner in advance. We know that pre-existing agreements will have been made but it is possible that a landowners’ view of what is acceptable may have changed in the current climate. Please be aware that landowners have a duty of care for any person who is on their land. Since the future of our surveys is dependent on good relationships being maintained, please take the time to ensure that landowners are still happy for you to undertake a box check on their property.
A Disease Risk Analysis (DRA) has been undertaken by ZSL investigating the likelihood of hazel dormice being affected by SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) and the possible implications. We have summarised this document and given some practical suggestions of things to consider if you undertake a dormouse box check. The advice can be downloaded here.
If you would like to read the full Dormouse DRA please email email@example.com.