Drivers who spot roadkill can actually help conservation

| 27th July 2018
Two shetland ponies walking on a road

Ponies on the road.

The Mammals on Roads survey plays a vital role in the ongoing conservation of British wildlife. Find out how you can help the People's Trust for Endangered Species. BRENDAN MONTAGUE reports.

According to a recent report by the Mammal Society, compiled with PTES’s help, one in five wild mammal species in Britain is at risk of extinction.

Drivers who spot roadkill can actually help conservationists. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling on the public to record sightings of mammals - dead or alive - while driving along Britain’s roads.

Submissions will form part of PTES's annual Mammals on Roads survey, designed to spot changing trends in populations and identify where conservation action is needed most.

According to a recent report by the Mammal Society, compiled with PTES’s help, one in five wild mammal species in Britain is at risk of extinction. But getting an idea of the size of populations and how numbers are changing remains difficult.

David Wembridge, surveys officer at PTES, explained: "At the moment, a lot of what we know is still a ‘best guess’ and what we really need are good records of mammals and of all sorts of species, more generally. Better estimates of numbers will help us understand our wildlife and the ‘natural health’ of the nation."

Get involved

David continued: "Together with the more traditional, paper-based methods, we hope the app will encourage more people to get involved in conservation and wildlife recording. The survey, of course, should only be done by passengers in the car - drivers should always have their full attention on the road and other vehicles."

This year, the survey runs from Sunday 1st July through to Sunday 30th September and participants in this citizen science project can take part either online or via an app on a smart phone or tablet.

Over the three summer months, PTES is asking families, car-sharing commuters or anyone on Britain’s roads, to record sightings of mammals and submit the records online, or with the Mammals on Roads app, available for free from the App Store and Google Play. 

The annual Mammals on Roads survey will help ongoing conservation efforts, building a countrywide picture from records submitted by the public of how the numbers of hedgehogs, badgers and other species are changing.

Previous findings have revealed the shocking decline in hedgehog numbers, which led to the launch of the nationwide campaign Hedgehog Street, run with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, which now has almost 50,000 volunteers committed to helping save the humble hedgehog.

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This story is based on a press release from People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). To support PTES’ ongoing conservation work, you can donate £3 by texting ‘PTES18 £3’ to 70070.

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