The Mammal Society, the only organisation dedicated to the study and conservation of all mammals in Britain and Ireland, launched its new Mammal Mapper app today.
The charity wants members of the public to help record when and where they see mammals.
Most wild mammals, including rabbits and iconic species like hedgehogs and mountain hares, are very poorly monitored. This makes it difficult to know which regions or habitats are most important, or to detect changes in their population sizes.
The Mammal Mapper app is designed to record information on the location and number of animals spotted on walks or bicycle rides.
Fiona Mathews, Chair of the Mammal Society and Professor of Environmental Biology at Sussex University explains “What we need people to do is to go on a walk or bike-ride (an evening outing of about 45 minutes is ideal) and record the mammals they see. By recording the route taken, the App will let us work out the densities of animals in different habitats. This is a unique feature of the Mammal Mapper app and will be hugely valuable for conservation. Previously we had no way of working out whether a sighting was submitted because an animal was common, or because people were excited to see it because it was rare. It was also difficult to pin down the precise habitat where the mammal was seen. New technology means that this is all now really easy on a smart-phone.”.
Users of the Mammal Mapper can record sightings of any mammal, including field-signs like burrows and mole-hills as well as live animals. The app includes detailed guides to help identify animals by their appearance and is very easy to use.
Prof Mathews added “You can use the app whenever you are out and about — perhaps walking the dog, cycling home from work, or going for a hike up a mountain. Wildlife-spotting is also a great way to keep children occupied on a walk. Information from anywhere is useful, whether it’s the walk to school, your local wood, or the remote uplands.”
Later this month the Mammal Society will be giving people the chance to really put the new Mammal Mapper through its paces during its “Big Half Term Hedgehog Watch”. Look out for “Big Half Term Hedgehog Watch” posts on social media and on the Mammal Society website.
The app is free to download and available on android and iOS in app stores now. For more information and download from the Mammal Society website go to https://www.mammal.org.uk/volunteering/mammal-mapper/.
Notes to editors
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- The Mammal Society is a charitable organisation working at the interface of science, policy making and practice. As the only society with an interest in all British mammals, its mission is to provide the scientific evidence-base for effective conservation and management.
- The Mammal Society has conducted the first review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals for more than 20 years. It will be published by Natural England in June 2018, together with the Red List of Threatened Mammals for Great Britain.
- Anyone who is interested in mammals, would like to support mammal conservation, access specialist information and benefit from discounted courses, should consider joining the Mammal Society today. Visit mammal.org.uk.
- The Mammal Society, 18 St John’s Church Road, London E9 6EJ. Registered Company Number 1455136 Charity Number 278918.
- The Mammal Mapper was developed by Natural Apptitude.
- Submitted records are sent to submitted to Coreo – a dedicated platform for collecting citizen science data. Records will be verified by experts in UK mammals and the data used to further conservation.