Over the last few months we have been asking mammal groups and individuals (via social media) to get involved in our small mammal trapping project. We’ve gathered some really good data but still need more.
Thanks to a generous donation, we have been able to buy more Longworth traps and can lend these to people who would like to take party in the survey but don’t have a sufficient number of their own traps. We’re particularly keen to hear from people in Scotland and Wales.
Why are we doing this?
The Review of the Conservation and Population Status of British Mammals, published earlier this year, highlighted the lack of information on many of our mammals. The estimates we used often had to rely on density information collected 10 or 20 years ago, which may no longer apply. We are therefore setting up a ‘Density Database’ where we will hold records on mammal densities, which will be freely available to whoever would like to use it, including Local Records Centres. To set up this database, we will be asking for help with surveys of key species and habitats over the coming months and years.
Grassland and woodland habitats
First on the list is small mammals in grassland and woodland habitats. To date there has been no strategic monitoring programme for small mammals in Britain, and we have identified some large data gaps for these species. The map below shows the small mammal records, at a 5km2 resolution, thus highlighting those areas of Britain that are particularly data-deficient. We are particularly keen to increase our coverage of these data-deficient areas (white on the map), including Scotland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, South Wales (e.g. Pembrokeshire) and the central paler belt which includes Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, amongst others.
We are looking to collect pre-breeding density information from a wide range of grassland and woodland habitats by conducting small mammal trapping. To avoid only surveying areas that look preferable to certain species, we want to conduct standardised surveys in different habitat types in the spring. We are therefore asking for help from individuals or groups who can conduct small mammal trapping surveys in their area. All the details and survey methods will be provided the Mammal Society. Although we have identified particular data-deficient areas such as Scotland and Wales, we are keen to undertake as many surveys as possible across the UK.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help, and let us know the number of traps, if any, that you have available.