UK Mammals - winners and losers?

 
The Tracking Mammals Partnership provides some answers
 
31st March 2005
 
The first major report by the Tracking Mammals Partnership (TMP), 24 organisations with an interest in mammals, provides the first complete overview of changes in the UK's mammal populations and shows that there are winners and losers among native and non-native species in the UK. The TMP is currently monitoring population change for 34 mammals (including bats), over 50% of our UK land mammal species.
 
UKMammals: Species Status and Population Trends, explains that ten native species have shown increases since the mid 1990s, four appear to have stable populations and three have shown declines. Otter and roe deer populations have increased by more than 50% while water voles have declined by more than 50%. For eight native species, several more years of data are needed before it is possible to assess population change reliably. Six non-natives have increasing populations, two show no change, and one is declining.  Plans are underway to introduce schemes to monitor the remaining mammal species over the next few years.
 
The TMP has a programme of 17 schemes, some collecting information on a range of species, others dedicated to a single species, but the majority have something in common –the data are collected by members of the public, including those who work in the countryside. Over 14,000 volunteers are currently taking part in mammal monitoring every year, carrying out over 140,000 hours of survey work, covering more than 16,500 survey sites across the UK, collecting the valuable data, which are then analysed to provide the population trends.
 
The estimated value of the time given by volunteers is in the region of £4.5 million per annum, considerably more than the estimated £500,000 currently spent on running the surveys by Government and Non-Government Organisations in the TMP, and shows the vital contribution the volunteers make to the success of the monitoring programme.
 
Jessa Battersby, coordinator of the TMP, commented "It is excellent to have a cooperative partnership, with so many volunteers engaged in collecting the data. We are able to provide some really useful information on mammal populations together in one place for the first time."
 
Welcoming the report, Nature Conservation Minister Ben Bradshaw said "This innovative partnership has made an excellent start at improving the quality, quantity and dissemination of data to aid species conservation and wildlife management policy.  It is good to see that otter populations are now beginning to thrive, along with various bat species; but the new data will also help us to improve common dormouse and water vole populations in the future.
 
"I want to thank the many members of the public who, as volunteers, have given their time to monitor mammals in their area, a vital component in collecting and co-ordinating this important information.  The data collected are essential to make informed decisions about conservation and wildlife management of these species."
 
More information can be found in the report, UK Mammals: Species Status and Population Trends, a 150 page summary of all the monitoring schemes and their results, which is available to buy from the Natural History Book Service, http://www.nhbs.com/ , or can be downloaded from the TMP website, http://www.trackingmammals.org/.
 
If you would like to participate in the surveys you can find contact information for the relevant organisations through the TMP website.
 
 
- ENDS -
 
 
Notes to editors:

 

1. The Tracking Mammals Partnership (TMP) is a collaborative initiative, involving 24 organisations with a variety of interests in mammals, which aims to improve the quality, quantity and dissemination of information on the status of mammal species in the UK. Government at all levels, and many sectors of the mammal community, require good quality data to guide conservation and wildlife management policy. Joint working within the partnership ensures a co-ordinated approach - the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
 
2. The TMP aims to standardise survey design, assess where information is missing, exchange data and expertise, share best practice and share information on new technology and data collected.  Organisations within the TMP also cooperate to recruit, train and support the network of volunteers who carry out the surveys.
 

3. TMP organisations:

Bat Conservation Trust, Bristol University, British Association for Shooting and Conservation, British Deer Society, British Trust for Ornithology, Central Science Laboratory, Countryside Council for Wales, Deer Commission for Scotland, Deer Initiative, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), English Nature, Environment Agency, Environment and Heritage Service, Forestry Commission, Game Conservancy Trust, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, The Mammal Society, People's Trust for Endangered Species/Mammals Trust UK, Queens University, Belfast, Royal Holloway University of London, Scottish Natural Heritage, Welsh Assembly Government, The Wildlife Trusts, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, (University of Oxford).
 
Also participating: National Biodiversity Network.
 
4.UKMammals: Species Status and Population Trends, is the first in a series of reports on the work carried out by the Partnership, bringing together the wealth of information available in one place. The report is available from NHBS, http://www.nhbs.com/, price £7.00 plus P&P or can be downloaded from the Tracking Mammals website www.trackingmammals.org.
 
5. PDFs of the cover of the report and of a leaflet containing more information are available from Jessa Battersby on 01733 866808 or 020 7720 2133 or  
 
Mammals currently covered by the TMP monitoring programme
 
Natives
Non-natives
Population change since mid 1990s
greater horseshoe bat, lesser horseshoe bat,
Natterer's bat, Daubenton's bat, common pipistrelle, polecat, badger, otter, red deer, roe deer
grey squirrel, common rat, sika deer, fallow deer, muntjac, Chinese water deer
Increasing
mole, whiskered bat, Brandt's bat, soprano pipistrelle
brown hare, mink
No change
mountain hare, common dormouse, water vole
rabbit
Declining
hedgehog, serotine, noctule, brown long-eared bat, Irish hare, fox, stoat, weasel
 
More information required to produce reliable trends
 
6. The 17 monitoring schemes operating within the partnership include:
 
The National Gamebag Census, run by the Game Conservancy Trust – providing information on 19 species. For more information on % change for species in this scheme contact: the NGC coordinator on 01425 652381.
 
The National Bat Monitoring Programme, run by the Bat Conservation Trust – providing information on 11 of the 16 resident bat species. For more information on bat trends contact Colin Catto on 020 7501 3629.
 
English Nature is monitoring populations of the greater horseshoe bat and working in partnership with PTES in Monitoring Water Voles at National Key Sites and monitoring dormice. For more information on these species contact Tony Mitchell-Jones on 01733 455250.
 
The Breeding Bird Survey, the Waterways Breeding Bird Survey and Garden BirdWatch are all surveys designed for birds but where information on mammals is also being collected. The surveys are run by the British Trust for Ornithology and are collecting information on over 18 species. The BTO also runs the Winter Mammal Monitoring Survey in partnership with the Mammal Society and with Defra funding. For more information on species trends in these surveys please contact David Noble on 01842 750050 or email:
 
The National Dormouse Monitoring Programme (NDMP), Mammals on Roads, Living with Mammals and Tracking Elusive Mustelids are all run by the People's Trust for Endangered Species or their restricted fund Mammals Trust UK. The NDMP is a single species scheme that has been operating since 1991 and the other three schemes are delivering information on more than 10 species. For more information on    dormouse trends and other species information contact: Alice Henchley on 020 7498 5262 or email:  
 
The Mammal Society's Water Shrew Survey; and Mammals in Your Garden? are surveys run by The Mammal Society, who also runs the Winter Mammal Monitoring Survey in partnership with BTO and with Defra funding. For more information contact Georgette Shearer on 020 7350 2200 or email: 
 
Surveys have been conducted in Northern Ireland on otters, red squirrel and Irish hare and have been funded by the Environment and Heritage Service and run by Queen's University, Belfast. For more information on the results contact John Milburne,  email: John.milburne@doeni.gov.uk  or Robbie McDonald email:
 
The Great British Deer Distribution Survey commenced in 2005 and is collecting distribution information on our six deer species across the UK. The survey is run by the British Deer Society. For more information contact Tony Dalby-Welsh email:   or phone 01749 343725
 
The national otter surveys, run in England and Wales by the Environment Agency and the Wildlife Trusts with involvement from English Nature, Countryside Council for Wales and Water UK. For more information contact: Andrew Crawford email: ;  and run in Scotland by Scottish Natural Heritage, contact Rob Raynor email:  
 
The English House Condition Survey – commensal rodents element and the Vincent Wildlife Trust Polecat and Mink Abundance Monitoring make up the remaining schemes.
 
 
Release issued by Communications Team, JNCC, on behalf of the Tracking Mammals Partnership.
Tel: 01733 866839      E-Mail:         Website: www.jncc.gov.uk
 
News Release JNCC 0405/01 – 31st March 2005