Press release: New App Turns Roadkill into British Wildlife Protection
Around one million mammals are killed on UK roads each year, but People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is turning these deaths into a positive, by using recorded sightings of road kill to help monitor the changing state of Britain’s wildlife populations, all with the help of the Mammals On Roads app starting this July.
PTES is calling on volunteers to record any sightings of mammals, dead or healthy, they spot on their car journeys via their mobile phones and tablets. With close to half a million miles of road covered in Britain since the first survey 13 years ago, PTES hopes that this year’s survey, with the help of the app, will build on data first collected in 2001 to further understand long-term population growths and declines, and to determine how best to protect Britain’s endangered mammals.
The Mammals on Roads app tracks mammals seen during the course of a car journey using GPS and users logging what they have seen. The survey is one of the few monitoring efforts of wild mammal populations nationally and relies on wildlife enthusiasts to gather the data each year. Previous results have seen PTES initiate a campaign to protect hedgehogs after discovering the species populations had declined by around a third since 2001.
PTES Survey Officer David Wembridge says: “The volunteers taking part in the survey help us enormously each year to understand how our wildlife populations are faring in Britain. Nobody likes seeing dead wildlife on the sides of roads, but the sightings helps us gain a greater understanding of population trends. Withvolunteersusing the app on their car journeys, they are helping to build a bigger picture of British wildlife, enabling us to make informed decisions about protecting those species most in danger.”
Results from previous surveys have seen rabbit numbers fall and although still widespread in Britain, rabbits are endangered across their native range in Europe. From the first survey in 2001, numbers have decreased by 25% and in the last five years, the decline is even steeper.
The loss of rabbits from our countryside has repercussions on habitats and other species. They are important prey for many predators and raptors, and without their grazing, woody species become established, replacing the chalk grassland that is an important habitat for species such as the large blue butterfly.
Families this year are being encouraged to add to this data between July and September, a time of year when people are setting off on summer holidays and wildlife’s young animals may be leaving the parental home.
You can take part in the survey using the free app, available from the App Store and Google Play. Alternatively, the survey can be completed on the web, or via a printed survey pack. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 74984533 to request a pack.
The survey runs through July, August and September.
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For more information or images please call Jane Bevan or Susannah Penn at Firebird PR on 01235835297
Notes to Editors
· People’s Trust for Endangered Species has been helping to ensure a future for many endangered species throughout the world since 1977. Visit www.ptes.org for more information
· The app was adapted for Android by Mark Billinge