Urgent action is needed to save a third of all mammals currently at risk of extinction in Wales, The State of Mammals in Wales report has revealed.
The report, commissioned by NRW, provides a species by species account of current population sizes and range trends as well as discussing threats and conservation opportunities. This information has been used to complete an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Listing assessment.
Based on this, we now know that across Britain a quarter of our native mammals are at risk of extinction. In Wales that number is 1 in 3.
Sam Dyer, NRW Specialist Advisor for Terrestrial Mammals said, “This is a very comprehensive report which examines the current situation for Wales’ 49 terrestrial mammal species, and we are grateful to all those who contributed to the resulting publication.
The Mammal Society has stressed the need to do more in order to sustain and create connected habitats across the country, giving mammals the ability to move easily from one area to another.
Chair of the Mammal Society, Fiona Mathews said, “As well as allowing other crucial ecological processes, the creation of such corridors will aid the exchange of genes that will ensure a healthy future for species such as harvest mice and water voles. If we do not take action now to reverse the fortunes for these creatures I fear it will be too late.”
The report estimates that hedgehog populations have declined by 60% since the last population estimates made in 1995. Water voles continue to be the fastest declining species and is classed as endangered; without further action water voles are likely to go extinct in Wales within our lifetimes.
The report also outlines the many success stories for mammal conservation emerging from Wales.
Current efforts to reinforce pine marten populations have been extremely successful; the country remained a stronghold for polecats when they all but disappeared from the rest of the UK; and Wales holds three focal sites for red squirrels.
There are also significant populations of greater and lesser horseshoe bats as well as colonies of rare species such as Bechstein’s and barbastelle bats. However, some species, such as water voles and harvest mice fare less well, with others, such as the wildcat having been extinct since the start of the 20th Century.
Mammal Society Science Officer, Frazer Coomber explained that there are steps that the public can take to help mammals in Wales, “Information is key in shaping the current situation on Wales’ mammals. That is why we have created the Mammal Mapper app that allows you to record what is out there and report sightings such as track and droppings whilst on your daily walk or on a family day out.
“This data will be crucial in enabling us to assess and review our conservation efforts, allowing future generations to enjoy these special mammals for years to come.”
It is hoped that the production of this report will steer mammal conservation efforts in Wales, identifying the priorities for action required to tackle the main issues and highlight future research requirements.
The State of Mammals in Wales report is available to download here.
Notes to Editors:
Image of Harvest Mouse by Beth Arkwright, Mammal Society.
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To view the Red List for Wales’ Mammals click here.
More about The State of Mammals in Wales
- Download the free report here https://www.mammal.org.uk/science-research/the-state-of-mammals-in-wales-cyflwr-mamaliaid-yng-nghymru/.
- The State of Mammals in Wales draws on the Mammal Society’s Review of the Conservation and Population Status of British Mammals, commissioned by Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, and Scottish Natural Heritage. Published in June 2018, the review was based on more than 1.5 million biological records, evidence derived from species-specific monitoring schemes, and a comprehensive review of the literature.
- The State of Mammals in Wales was written by Fiona Mathews, Bethany Smith, Colin Harrower and Frazer Coomber.
The Mammal Society
- The Mammal Society works to conserve Britain’s mammals. As the only charity with an interest in all British mammals, its mission is to identify effective conservation strategies, provide the scientific evidence-base for policy and practice, and support the restoration of our mammal populations.
- The Mammal Society’s conservation work is supported through the generosity of our members. Currently our work includes investigating the causes of hedgehog declines and monitoring the status of all British Mammals with the help of citizen science volunteers. To join the Mammal Society visit mammal.org.uk.
- The Mammal Society’s Mammal Mapper app is free to download and easy to use. It allows citizen scientists to record mammal signs and sightings when out and about. Users can upload sightings of dead or living mammals spotted when they are in the garden, travelling on foot, a passenger in a car, horse-riding or on a train. Records can be uploaded in situ or when back at home. Find out more at https://www.mammal.org.uk/volunteering/mammal-mapper/.
- The Mammal Society will shortly begin work on a research project analysing water vole and mink distributions in Wales. The aim of the project is to establish how best to focus conservation efforts aimed at saving the water vole. More news on this project, which has been commissioned by Natural Resources Wales, will follow soon.
- Visit mammal.org.uk for more information or follow the Mammal Society on Facebook @MammalSociety
- For more information on the IUCN-compliant Red List for Britain’s Mammals click here.
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