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Suffolk and Essex volunteers needed for mammal survey

PUBLISHED: 07:15 24 March 2018

Foxes are increasingly likely to be seen in urban areas and will certainly feature strongly in the PTES mammal survey. Picture: ROBERT McKENNA

Foxes are increasingly likely to be seen in urban areas and will certainly feature strongly in the PTES mammal survey. Picture: ROBERT McKENNA

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People’s Trust for Endangered Species launches green space animal count

Hedgehogs are a nationally declining species and the PTES survey will help to establish their current numbers. Picture: MECHA MORTONHedgehogs are a nationally declining species and the PTES survey will help to establish their current numbers. Picture: MECHA MORTON

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is calling for volunteers from Suffolk and Essex to take part in its annual national Living with Mammals survey in the same enthusiastic way they did last year.

The trust (PTES) is asking members of the British public to survey a garden or local green space once a week in the coming months and record the wild animals they see. Last year, mammal-watchers in the East of England responded well to the trust’s call, with the region and the South-East returning the greatest number of survey results, and the wildlife charity hopes for a similar response this year.

Volunteers can choose any green space to survey, the trust said. “This could be a rural or urban garden, an allotment, a park, or a green space near to work, as long as the site is within 200 metres of a building. Once a suitable space has been identified, PTES is asking volunteers to visit the site for a short time each week and record any sightings of mammals or the signs they leave behind, such as droppings or footprints.”

PTES surveys officer David Wembridge added: “Understanding how wildlife in our towns and cities is changing is essential in supporting our wild neighbours such as foxes, rabbits and hedgehogs.

“We’ve always shared our green spaces with wildlife, so by counting the number of mammals each spring, we can tell where conservation efforts are needed most. By identifying population trends, finding pockets where certain species are thriving or under pressure, we can ultimately encourage biodiversity around us.”

Many of Britain’s mammals, including hedgehogs, foxes, grey squirrels and bats, were typically found in household gardens, recreational areas, cemeteries and brownfield sites, PTES said. Other green spaces close to buildings may also provide them with a home. However, there were some mammals that only lived in certain parts of the country - hazel dormice, for example, were rare but occasional visitors to gardens and were mostly found in southern counties of England and in Wales, although parts of north Essex and south Suffolk have populations of the species.

Although the East of England supported last year’s survey well, the lowest number of surveys were carried out in the North-East and in Scotland. PTES was “particularly interested” to hear from people living in those areas because they were home to some of Britain’s rarest mammals, such as red squirrels and pine martens.

The survey starts on Monday and runs until June 24. To take part, volunteers can register online at www.ptes.org/lwm. The survey can also be completed via a printed pack via LwM@ptes.org

People who wanted to support PTES’ ongoing conservation work but could not commit time to the survey could donate £3 by texting ‘PTES18 £3’ to 70070, the charity added.

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