A new Mammals on Roads app for iOS9 and above, and Android 7, has been created to enable sightings of Britain’s mammals to be recorded on the move, allowing wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) to identify changes in population numbers and help conservation.
The app is free, easy to use, and boasts charming graphics of a whole host of mammals, from hedgehogs and hares to badgers and bats. There are also informative audio descriptions, providing useful background information and insights into the lives of these creatures.
David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES, explains: ‘Data gathered from Mammals on Roads is vital to conservation work. The survey has been running for over 15 years, which allows us to compare data year on year, and identify where we need to focus our conservation efforts.’
The new app is part of PTES’s Mammals on Roads survey, which takes place annually between July and September. To take part, members of the public are asked to record sightings of Britain’s mammals – dead or alive – during car journeys of 20 miles or more on a single day, outside built-up areas – perfect for summer road trips or family holidays!
David continues: ‘While recording roadkill can be a little gruesome, higher levels of roadkill can actually indicate a healthy population of mammals nearby. We hope this new app will engage new audiences, who already have mobile technology at their fingertips, with wildlife conservation, in addition to our many fantastic volunteers who take part each year by logging sightings online or via a survey pack.’
Since 2001, over half a million kilometres of Britain’s roads have been surveyed through Mammals on Roads, with previous data alerting conservationists at PTES to the dramatic fall in native hedgehog numbers. These findings resulted in the launch of the nationwide campaign Hedgehog Street in 2011 with partner charity the British Hedgehog Preservation Society,which to date has 44,000 ‘Hedgehog Champions’ pledging to help protect this species from further decline. Further research is also being undertaken to investigate the reasons behind the decline, showing the true power of citizen science and what the British public can help conservationists achieve.
To take part, you can download the free Mammals on Roads app from the App Store or Google Play. Alternatively, the survey can be completed via the PTES website (www.ptes.com/mor) or via a printed survey pack. Email email@example.com or call 0207 498 4533 to request a pack to be sent to you.
Mammals on Roads runs from Tuesday 4 July until 30 September 2017.
If you want to support PTES’s ongoing conservation work, you can donate £3 by texting ‘PTES17 £3’ to 70070.