Wildlife charity appeals for volunteers to help spot mammals

EDDC's countryside team are showing people how to help hedgehogs

EDDC's countryside team are showing people how to help hedgehogs - Credit: Archant

A wildlife charity is calling for volunteers to record mammal sightings in their gardens in conservation efforts.

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is looking for volunteers for its annual Living with Mammals survey, which runs from March 30 to June 28.

People will be asked to record sightings of wild mammals – or the signs they leave behind, such as footprints or droppings – they see in their gardens, or from balconies or windows, to help conservationists understand how their numbers are changing.

Wild mammals include hedgehogs, badgers, pygmy shrews, badgers, deer and other animals.

Many of Britain’s mammals are under threat, but recording sightings of these species can help conservationists protect their future.

The results of the survey to date offer a glimmer of hope for hedgehogs, whose numbers in urban areas and more widely have been declining for at least 20 years.

Recent data from the study suggest hedgehog numbers may have picked up, but more records are still needed to find out exactly how each of Britain’s mammal species are faring.

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Mammal Surveys Coordinator at PTES, David Wembridge, said: “Living with Mammals is something positive we can do at a difficult time and while we all stay in. We hope people will take the opportunity to appreciate their wild neighbours.

“People across the country are helping to build an extraordinary picture of how our wildlife is changing, but, with fewer records in some areas, the picture is less clear. For a species like hedgehogs that are still widespread but whose numbers have been going down, it’s as important to get as good an idea of how they’re doing in Scotland, say, as elsewhere, where we have more records.

“Surveys like Living with Mammals, which run annually, are the only way to tell if our conservation work is working, and where it’s needed. To date, over 3,000 gardens across Britain have been surveyed by volunteers, which is fantastic, but we still need more records to help us understand, and encourage, the wild mammals on our doorstep.”

To take part in the survey or find out how to identify different mammals, visit www.ptes.org/LwM