Stuck in holiday traffic? Try some mammal recording!

Heading back home after a Christmas with the family? Why not contribute to The Mammal Society’s new National Mammal Atlas? It is not unusual to see a rabbit nibbling at the well-tended grass on a roundabout, or deer grazing peacefully alongside the motorway, and mammal spotting provides free distraction to bored children (or adults!).  Providing the first review of where mammals are found for more than 20 years, the National Mammal Atlas is a crucial step towards conserving many species. The freely available Mammal Tracker App (downloaded from your app store or from our website, where you can also submit mammal records) makes recording mammal sightings or their signs simple and convenient.

 © Steve Adams

© Steve Adams

Mammals are, perhaps surprisingly, one of the most under-recorded groups of wildlife in Britain. The National Mammal Atlas seeks to change this and pinpoint the species, and the locations, where our conservation efforts are needed most. But the dataset is not yet complete! The Mammal Society is calling for any wild mammal records to be submitted for inclusion in the Atlas. Many mammals are still out and about at this time of year and are easy to spot. Records of mammals that are considered common, such as rabbits, Grey Squirrels, moles, are all valued alongside those of rarer species like Red Squirrels and Pine Martens. Ideally, mammal records should be submitted with a photo to aid in identification. Many records submitted are not direct sightings, but are evidence of mammal presence such as tracks, feeding evidence such as nibbled nuts or feeding stations, nests or droppings. Some mammals and their signs are difficult to identify, but all records are verified by our experts, so every record submission counts towards UK mammal conservation.

Fiona Mathews, Chair of the Mammal Society, said, “It’s easy to get involved in one of the biggest mammal data collection schemes taking place in the UK. So why not get involved this Christmas and help ease the boredom on those long drives. Even roundabouts can be fascinating in a traffic jam.”