"On the right track"

Mammal surveillance breakthrough begins


For the first time there is going to be a co-ordinated approach to regular surveying of all mammal species across the UK. Over the last few years, the JNCC has been leading on setting up a mammal surveillance and monitoring network, (as previously reported in Nature News issue 3). There are now 23 organisations, with a variety of interests in UK mammals, forming the Tracking Mammals Partnership.
Setting up the partnership means that organisations are working together, using standardised survey designs, exchanging data and expertise and sharing best practice, information on new technology and data collected, to inform decisions. It will also provide a co-ordinated approach to recruiting, training and managing the network of volunteers who carry out the surveys. An annual report on the work carried out by the Partnership will be produced, bringing together all relevant information in one place.
Monitoring and surveillance schemes operating under the auspices of the Partnership include the National Bat Monitoring Programme, The National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, The Breeding Bird Survey for Mammals and the National Game Bag Census mammal data. There are also a number of pilot schemes that are being tested now and over the next few years to assess their ability to deliver the required monitoring and surveillance information.
These include the Mammals on Roads survey, the Winter Mammal Monitoring project and a number of Garden Mammal Surveys. Research projects aimed at validating the data collected by volunteers are also underway.
A "Declaration of Intent" has been signed by all the organisations involved and a new website has been created  to provide a focal point for enquiries and information. Dr Jessamy Battersby, has been assigned the post of co-ordinator for the partnership, and will liaise with all the organisations involved.
The UK government, the devolved administrations and many sectors of the mammal community require good quality data on the status of UK mammals to guide conservation objectives and management and to assess and manage population changes of problem species. A co-ordinated approach to the surveillance and monitoring of mammals will help to fulfil these requirements.
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