As General Election fever mounts and voters weigh up where to cast their votes, the shape of the political landscape lies in the balance. The shape of the natural landscape is just as precarious, with some species thriving and others threatened and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is asking people to sign-up for Living with Mammals, its annual poll of the nation’s mammals which runs between the end of March and the end of June.
David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES explains: “Like the political landscape, regions are differently represented by our wild mammals – red squirrels, for example, are found mostly in Scotland and the north of England, a little like their red political counterparts, while hazel dormice, which are rare but occasional visitors to gardens, are only found in southern England—perhaps showing a blue political hue. Other species, like the Green Party and UKIP, have more isolated strongholds, such as the greater mouse-eared bat which is known at a single site on the South coast!”
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 and take part in Living with Mammals. Now in its 13th year, the 2015 survey begins on Monday 30 March and volunteers are asked to take part in at least eight of the thirteen weeks between now and the end of June.
This citizen science project not only acts as an important poll of how wildlife is faring, 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 wildlife. Volunteers are required to select a site and spend a short time each week observing it, reporting their sightings online at the PTES website.
Gardens, allotments, cemeteries, recreational land, brown field sites, railway embankments and roadside verges, as well as pockets of heath and woodland adjacent to buildings are all typical survey sites and can support a surprising diversity of mammals.
Spotted at the greatest number of sites last year were grey squirrels and foxes, whose numbers have changed little since 2003 when the survey was first run. Bats were the next most commonly recorded species, at almost half of sites, but badgers, voles, wood mice, hedgehogs, and rarer species such as red squirrel and otter, were also reported.
David Wembridge concludes, “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—not just for the next political term but for our lifetimes.”
To take part in the 2015 Living with Mammals survey, register online at www.ptes.org/lwm
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For further information, interview requests, or images please call Jane Bevan or Susannah Penn at Firebird PR on 01235 835297/ 07977459547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
Available for interview:
• David Wembridge, Surveys Officer, PTES
• Jill Nelson, CEO, PTES
• The Living with Mammals survey takes place through April, May and June each year and requires volunteers to spend some time observing a chosen site each week for eight or more weeks in the survey period. You can spend as little as ten minutes through the week observing (although the more the better) and it can be done by an individual or be a team effort.
• Species of Conservation Concern include: bat species; hedgehog; badger; shrew species; roe deer; brown hare; weasel; stoat; red squirrel; water vole; otter; hazel dormouse; red deer; fallow deer.
• A long-term trend analysis by PTES based on their Living with Mammals and Mammals on Roads surveys shows that hedgehog populations have plummeted by over a third in the last ten years.
• Wildlife charities PTES and BHPS launched Hedgehog Street in June 2011 to encourage hedgehog conservation action at a local community or neighbourhood level. Nearly 30,000 volunteer “Hedgehog Champions” up and down the country have registered to help to date and the campaign is ongoing, but we still need your help to make a difference. Visit www.hedgehogstreet.org
• People’s Trust for Endangered Species is a UK conservation charity created in 1977, which works in partnership with voluntary organisations, wildlife experts, government and industry to conserve wild mammals and their habitats throughout the world. PTES protect some of our most threatened wildlife species through providing practical conservation support through research, grant-aid and educational programmes, including wildlife surveys, publications and public events. PTES owns and manages two of its own habitat reserves – Briddlesford Woods, an area of ancient woodland on the Isle of Wight and Rough Hill, a traditional orchard in Worcestershire