The Mammal Society’s 65th Conference saw the annual event return to Scotland, with a Scottish theme very much in evidence. The three-day event, which took place in Glasgow over the last weekend in March, kicked off with the Cranbrook Lecture given by Pete Cairns, professional nature photographer and filmmaker. Pete, who is based in the Scottish Highlands, is a strong advocate for rewilding and highlighted the need to work towards a sustainable future of regenerated landscapes, return of missing species and reconnection of people with nature. On the Friday evening, we also had the chance to see the winning entries in the Mammal Photographer of the Year competition. We were delighted to welcome two of our young winners, Katy Read and William Evans, to the reception to meet Pete and receive their well-deserved prizes.
As always, we had a fascinating range of talks over the weekend, focusing on a diverse range of mammals, looking at new research including sampling, monitoring, behavioural studies and management of populations. These included a series of rapid-fire talks and several student presentations, which were of the usual high quality. The conference also had a section on the Scottish Wildcat, with a series of talks looking at different aspects of the species, including looking to the future of conservation action for this native mammal.
The Scottish flavour continued into the Saturday evening with a quiz over dinner, set by the wildcat contingent, who managed to flummox many of us with their Celtic vernacular and wily questions! As well as the opportunity to draw old and new acquaintances together, the annual dinner provides the opportunity to honour a member for their outstanding work in the field of mammalogy. This year, our President, Paul Chanin, presented the award to Tony Mitchell-Jones. Tony, who now resides in the west of Scotland, has had a highly illustrious career involving wide-ranging mammal research, notably bats, and continues to be very active in this field. As our dinner took place during Earth Hour, a global movement to highlight activities that impact the natural world, we wanted to show our solidarity and dined with the lights out between 8.30 – 9.30 pm.
The conference drew to a close on Sunday with a series of workshops and a special field trip to visit a fossorial water vole population on the outskirts of Glasgow. We’ve had some lovely feedback on the event, and we would like to thank everyone who was able to come along for making it such an enjoyable conference. We look forward to doing it all again next year, in Cambridge, between 27th and 29th March. More news on this will follow soon, so keep an eye on social media and our Training and Events page for updates!