MammalWeb Newsletter May 2022

Published on May 25th 2022

MammalWeb Newsletter May 2022

Hello and welcome to the May issue of our newsletter! As we come to the end of spring, you may start seeing more young around; birds will start leaving their nests, mammals like bats are becoming more independent, and leverets are emerging from hiding. You might also come across roe deer fawns lying up in cover, waiting for their mothers to return! 

Coming up in this newsletter, we have some information about MammalNet Ireland, the newest addition to the MammalNet family, a feature on some of the rewilding projects happening across the UK, and an exciting update on a new publication by Sammy, one of MammalWeb's PhD students! We would also like to welcome a new volunteer to our team and, as always, our monthly mammal fact and camera trap quiz are at the end of this newsletter!

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at  info@PROTECTED 


April 2022

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
65338529

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects.  


April 2022 Spotter League

Congratulations to April's top ten spotters! We appreciate everyone's hard work. 
PositionUser
1Otter_Spotter
2stevenbradley
3PetaSams
41bachA_sanblas
5TerriM
6RustyKnight07
7Rochesterj
8Davies
9Luko
10vivcoy

 


MammalNet Ireland

MammalNet Ireland is the newest sub-project of the MammalNet family, hoping to harness the potential of voluntary citizens for mammal monitoring in Ireland. This will involve the people of Ireland in this fantastic Europe-wide citizen-science project. MammalNet Ireland will allow different volunteer groups and stakeholders across the whole island of Ireland to catalogue Irish mammalian biodiversity, and to understand what and where species are found. Of particular interest to the MammalNet Ireland project is the distribution of deer, urban foxes, and the expanding distribution of the pine marten to their former haunts. MammalNet Ireland is calling all interested groups or individuals to contribute to this initiative! You can keep up to date with the project via their Twitter @MammalNet_IE


Rewilding in the UK

While Britain was previously home to a wide range of animal and plant species, many of these have been eradicated locally, largely as a result of human pressures such as land use change, and persecution. It is often disheartening to think about the loss of native biodiversity but, thankfully lots of projects are working to reintroduce some native species and rewild areas of the UK to reverse some of the effects humans have had.

The Highlands of Scotland are one of the places most often talked about in rewilding projects. The Highlands are home to some of the wildest landscapes in Britain and are remote enough to begin reintroducing species without anthropogenic factors causing too much disturbance. However, even these areas  face opposition from those who argue that carnivore reintroductions would harm livestock. Groups advocating for the reintroduction of large carnivores like wolves and lynx are working to change public perception of such animals. These carnivores would be introduced to manage deer populations, which graze on saplings, preventing the regrowth of the Caledonian forest that historically dominated the highlands. You can read more about potential lynx reintroductions here. Bunloit estate are also running a rewilding project on the shores of Loch Ness, which you can find out more about here, you can also contribute to classifying species at Bunloit with MammalWeb here

Further south, Knepp estate in West Sussex is leading the way for rewilding in England. Once an intensively managed farm, the owners of Knepp are working to return the area to nature, not by conserving individual species but by leaving nature to take over and establish itself naturally. As a result, Knepp is now home to species such as turtle doves, purple emperor butterflies and as many as 13 bat species! Knepp continues to prove that once-intensively farmed land retains the potential to let nature thrive again, if managed with restoration in mind. 

Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of reintroductions for conservation in the UK is the reintroduction of beavers. Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) have been reintroduced to both England (Devon) and Scotland (Argyll and Tayside), and there is potential to reintroduce them to Wales via the Welsh Beaver Project. It has been argued that beaver reintroductions damage farmland and forestry but these charismatic rodents act as ecosystem engineers, building dams which divert rivers, creating natural wetlands that, in turn, provide homes for invertebrates, birds and fish. They also provide natural flood management solutions by creating these wetlands. More information on their reintroduction and benefits to ecosystems can be found on the Rewilding Britain and RSPB websites. 


MammalWeb Journal Article

We're excited to announce that PhD student Sammy, along with colleagues from the MammalWeb team, has a new paper published in the journal of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation! The paper is open access and available to read here. Below is a brief overview of the paper as well as some of our favourite images from the survey!

Back in 2018, PhD student Sammy conducted a large-scale camera trapping survey in North-East England. The survey area covered 2725 km2 and included the whole of County Durham, plus areas of Gateshead, Sunderland and Darlington. In total, 50 camera traps were rotated around 109 pre-determined random sites. The survey generated almost half a million images and many of you have helped to classify those images on the County Durham Survey project on MammalWeb. 

With the data from the survey, we used a method called Camera Trap Distance Sampling (CTDS) to estimate densities of eight mammal species. CTDS was first proposed in 2017 and is an extension of traditional point transect distance sampling which is a commonly used method for estimating abundance of many species, especially birds. Our study is one of the only studies to use CTDS over a large area and in a heterogenous landscape. We are also the first study to calculate densities not only for the whole-survey area but also within four specific habitats. We found both survey-wide and habitat-specific density estimates largely fell within previously published density ranges and our estimates were amongst the most precise produced for these species to date. In the paper, we discuss the need for careful consideration of practical and methodological decisions, such as how high to set cameras and where to left-truncate data (i.e., how close to the camera we would expect to get meaningful numbers of images for each species). Ultimately, we highlight the potential for CTDS to be used on a national scale. We discuss how the method could be integrated with a citizen science approach in order to improve national-level mammal monitoring in the UK.

We would like to say a huge thanks to all the MammalWeb contributors who helped to classify images from this project! To date, 14,921 classifications have been submitted to the project on MammalWeb. Without your help it would have taken the team far longer to classify all the images, so we are very grateful for all your contributions!


New MammalWeb Team Members

As you may know our communications intern Caitlin Cross recently left our team to start a graduate job in ecological consultancy. We would like to thank Caitlin again for all her help and enthusiasm over the past year and wish her all the best of luck in her new job. Rowan Knox will be stepping in to help with our monthly newsletters as well as our social media accounts!

Hello, I'm Rowan. I am currently studying Wildlife and Conservation Management at SRUC. My main interest is in carnivore ecology as well as preserving the native habitats here in Scotland. I'm very excited to be working with the MammalWeb team, and look forward to sharing any interesting tidbits in the mammal and conservation world with you all!


Events and Talks

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more about our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming events that might be of interest! Most are online, but in-person events are once again becoming possible as restrictions ease, so please do check that you can attend before booking!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online. Click on the links below to find out more.


Mammal Fact of the Month

While rabbits and hares may appear similar to rodents, they are actually part of a distinct group, lagomorpha, which contains rabbits, hares and pikas. These similarities are the result of convergent evolution, where distinct groups have independently evolved similar characteristics. The same can be seen in similarities between the shape of dolphins and sharks, both being streamlined for swimming while originating from two very different evolutionary pasts. 


Camera Trap Quiz

Well done to everybody who correctly spotted the grey squirrel in the April camera trap quiz below! 

We get all sorts of animals caught in our camera traps. This month's camera trap quiz is testing your bird ID skills, do you know what species is pictured here?

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more? We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

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MammalWeb Newsletter April 2022

Published on April 19th 2022

MammalWeb Newsletter April 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to the April issue of the MammalWeb newsletter! Spring is well underway and lots of species are becoming more active as the days get warmer and longer. To celebrate, we are running an exciting Easter competition for contributors to our pine marten project to win a camera trap! 

Coming up in this newsletter we have some information on a new MammalWeb project that is looking for spotters and an update on some findings of another camera trapping project. We also have a feature on birds’ nests as they are busy building this time of year. If you follow us on social media you will know that we are looking for a new volunteer and there is more information on that here too.

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at  info@PROTECTED 


March 2022

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
63975928

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects.  


March 2022 Spotter League

Congratulations to our top ten spotters! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. 
PositionUser
1TerriM
2RustyKnight07
3PetaSams
4DurhamMonitor
5Jimmytheeel
6Mike King
7leszek.sabat
8agnegald
9gcsmith
10Petra128

 


Forest of Dean Pine Marten Easter Competition

Our Forest of Dean Pine Marten project is nearly complete but we need some extra help to get us to the finish line. In order to thank everyone who has participated in the project so far, and get those final classifications in, we are running a special Easter competition. For every classification submitted to the Forest of Dean Pine Marten Project between April 15 th and May 1 st you will receive a ticket to be entered into a prize draw. The lucky winner will receive a new camera trap and a runner up will win a copy of the excellent book ‘Pine Martens’ by Johnny Birks.

To be in with a chance to win you need to have an account registered on MammalWeb, then go to the ‘Forest of Dean Pine martens’ project, either via our ‘Projects’ page or select it from the drop-down menu on your Spotter page and start classifying. You can choose to classify photos, videos or a mix of both from this project. If you have not classified from this project before, you will notice it is a little different to other projects on MammalWeb as, not only are we asking you to identify the species you can see, but also whether you can identify different individual pine martens. This can be tricky, but is possible as each pine marten has unique markings on its ‘bib’ (the area of creamy coloured fur on a marten’s chest). Look carefully and you will see the edge of the bibs can be very uneven, and some martens have patches of dark fur within their bib. When spotting for this project you will see a list of different ID codes (e.g. FD03) for different animals known to be in the study area.

Clicking on one of these will bring up more information and other images of that animal to help you with your classification.

Trying to ID a pine marten to individual level takes concentration and can be time consuming; therefore, for each classification you submit that contains an individual ID, you will receive a bonus ticket for the prize draw. For tips on pine marten classification visit the project page or see our PDF guide

If you believe you have found a pine marten that is not one the ID options available, please classify it as a ‘New pine marten’. If you cannot ID an individual (e.g., if you can’t see the bib markings) please classify it as ‘Unidentifiable pine marten’ - but, if you are able to tell if it is male or female, please still add that information. If you have narrowed it down to a couple of individuals but are unsure you can always select the individual you think is most likely but add to the notes box other individuals you think it might be.

We will announce the winner on our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and in next month’s newsletter. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@PROTECTED. Best of luck - and get spotting!


MammalWeb Communications Intern

As you might know, our social media and communications have been greatly improved over recent times by the hard work and creativity of volunteers. We recently said goodbye and thanks to Tom Wright and welcomed Libby Chapman to the team. We can now annouce that Caitlin Cross is also stepping down to concentrate on her new job in ecological consulting. Huge thanks to Caitlin for all she has done over the past year - and we wish her all the best in her new job!

In light of Caitlin's departure, we're now looking for an intern to work with the MammalWeb team over the next six months to help with our communications efforts! The intern will help communicate with MammalWeb participants and the general public via email (including our monthly newsletter), our website, and our social media. 

The ideal candidate will have 

The internship will be fully remote. We expect the time commitment for this role to be between 2-4 hours per week. The role is very flexible – the work can be done at any time to fit around your other commitments. Although there is a minimum commitment for this role, we are very happy to support anything extra you would like to do/create for your own personal development. This could be things such as writing extra blog posts, making videos or infographics, or getting involved with other public engagement projects. 

You will be joining a small team working closely together on the MammalWeb project, and will be supervised by researchers active in the fields of ecology, conservation, citizen science and public engagement. Through this internship, we aim to provide a valuable experience working in conservation and science communication. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer a salary for this internship, however we will be happy to provide references at the end of the placement and support you in developing your CV if you wish.

If you are interested in applying for this role, please email info@PROTECTED with a short statement about why you wish to apply and your suitability for the role. Please email by Friday 22nd April 2022. If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Camera Evaluation and Density Modelling

During the summer of 2021, APHA conducted a large camera trapping project across five different areas in the Forest of Dean. The aim of the project was to trial new remote camera technology alongside different methods of camera trapping to estimate population densities of five mammal species found in the Forest of Dean: wild boar; roe, muntjac and fallow deer; and red fox.

We used three different methods of camera trap placement, each over a total of 14 days, to help identify the best method of estimating all five of the chosen mammal species. Firstly, we set out the cameras in a random un-baited grid pattern, with 12 cameras set in each of the five areas. Secondly, we set up 10 baited cameras using hessian bags, maize, peanuts, and raspberry jam, which were attached to trees. Lastly, in each area we set up 10 cameras on lure sites using stakes coated in a specific attractant for wild boar. Comparing the photos captured using each of the three different methods across the same area will allow us to estimate the most effective way of targeting a chosen species but also investigate how the methods used might influence both the animals themselves, and our calculated density estimates.

This project captured images of a wide range of UK mammal and bird species, generating a vast quantity of photo data. With such a large data set comes a great opportunity for people to get involved as citizen scientists and participate in a current research project by helping to tag photos of specific species. Going through camera trap data like this can also be fascinating to gain an insight into the lives of some species that may be otherwise elusive.


Thamesmead Small Mammal Monitoring Project

The Thamesmead Small Mammal Monitoring Project is now open to all spotters. This project has been set up by North West Kent Countryside partnership, in partnership with Peabody, as part of Peabody’s biodiversity action plan for Thamesmead. The purpose of this plan is to increase biodiversity in Thamesmead and foster community engagement with local wildlife and green spaces. One element of this work includes encouraging local people to contribute to biological records and get involved in citizen science.

Our small mammal monitoring box was built by one of our volunteers and has been deployed on school grounds as well as a local nature reserve. Over 6,700 images have been uploaded to MammalWeb and the people of Thamesmead could do with a little help to classify them all. So far, we’ve seen a surprising variety of small mammals, some larger mammals such as foxes and squirrels, and various birds.

Thamesmead is an urban area, with low rates of biological recording and many residents are unaware of the variety of wildlife sharing their neighbourhood. We hope that by offering ways to engage with local wildlife online as well as in the field, we can reach a wider audience and increase the amount of biological data being collected about the area. By involving schools in the project, we hope to give children a glimpse of a hidden world and inspire them to make space for nature in their urban world.


Birds Nest Building Behaviour

Spring means warmer temperatures and longer days. It also initiates the reproduction of many species. In temperate environments, like the UK, animals must time their reproduction to coincide with their food availability and to occur in a suitable temperature range. This causes many British species to have their offspring in spring. 

While most mammals have live-born young that develop within the female, egg-laying species like birds, have to provide their eggs with a suitable environment to develop properly. Birds' eggs must be kept in a very narrow temperature range (36-40oC) - this is where the nest comes in! Birds nests are crucial in providing the eggs, and chicks, with a microclimate suitable for proper growth and development. Nests protect offspring from the physical environment, by keeping them warm and dry, but also from predation by camouflage and physical protection, such as building inside nestboxes or tree cavities. 

This is a coal tit nest built in an artificial nestbox. It is made with grass and moss with animal fur and feathers lining the cup, providing lots of insulation to the eggs which will soon be incubated by the female to begin developing into chicks.

Nest building has long been thought to be a fixed ability of birds, with the general understanding being that nest design remains unchanged throughout a bird’s life. However, recent research has shown that many factors can affect nest design. Birds will build bigger, better insulated nests in colder environments and will adjust the timing of nest building based on temperature, in order to coincide with peak food availability. It has also been shown that birds will change their nest design based on previous experience. Captive zebra finches will build nests with more material if they were previously unsuccessful in a breeding attempt, and experienced weaverbirds build more tightly woven nests than inexperienced birds, all indicating there is a learned component to nest design. 


Events and Talks

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more about our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming events that might be of interest! Most are online, but in-person events are once again becoming possible as restrictions ease, so please do check that you can attend before booking!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online. Click on the links below to find out more.


Mammal Fact of the Month

Hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) can shed part of their tail to escape predation. This is called partial tail autotomy. The tail of these animals can also help identify them as they are fluffy, unlike the tails of many other small rodents. 

Photo from Frank Vassen via Flickr.


Camera Trap Quiz

Well done to everybody who correctly spotted the grey wagtail in the March camera trap quiz below! This was a difficult spot, so well done to anyone who found it!

What can you find in this month's camera trap image below? If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more? We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

 

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MammalWeb Newsletter March 2022

Published on March 21st 2022

MammalWeb Newsletter March 2022

Hello everybody and welcome to the March issue of the MammalWeb newsletter! We are very excited that the first signs of Spring are here, as it means longer days and slightly warmer temperatures! As we progress into Spring, the activity levels of most native mammals will increase, and those of you with camera traps out should expect to see an increase in the amount of footage that you capture!

Included in the newsletter this month are the February sequence stats and spotter league, a summary of the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 report, some camera placement top tips, and a research feature from PhD student Holly Broadhurst. As always, we also have our monthly mammal fact and camera trap quiz as well as some events and talks coming up in the next month!

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at  info@PROTECTED 


February 2022

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
37309708

 

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects.  


February 2022 Spotter League

Congratulations to our top ten spotters! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. 
PositionUser
1TerriM
2DuhramMonitor
3emma_hummingbird
4Amy Josette
5RustyKnight07
6Jimmytheeel
7herefordstu
8gcsmith
9Jottore
10Helen0B#3

 


State of Britain's Hedgehogs 2022 Report

The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 report was released at the end of last month, detailing the latest trends in national hedgehog numbers. Below is a summary of the report, but you can read the whole thing here

Hedgehogs are one of our most loved native species, and their historic decline is well documented. Yet, the data collected for this report between 1981 and 2020 from five ongoing surveys has shown that vast differences between urban and rural populations are becoming increasingly apparent.

In urban areas, the matrix of gardens, amenity grassland and other green space present is thought to be a refuge for hedgehogs, and populations appear to be recovering. The picture is hopeful, but it should be remembered that any recovery starts from a low baseline at the end of a long period of decline.

In stark contrast, rural populations remain low. The report suggests that 30-75% of hedgehogs in the countryside have been lost nationally since 2000. The results vary across regions however, with the largest declines seen in the Eastern half of England. More research is required to fully understand these numbers and to get a more precise measure of how hedgehogs are faring.

To help hedgehogs in the area where you live, here are some top tips:

  1. Create access into your garden with a hedgehog highway in your fence or wall
  2. Leave out supplementary food and water – wet or dry meat-based cat or dog food can be left out (these are high in the protein needed!)
  3. Avoid using slug pellets and other harmful pesticides
  4. Record any hedgehog sightings. You can submit camera trap footage to our site (learn more on how to do this here), or for visual sightings, you can record them on Hedgehog Street’s BIG Hedgehog Map, iRecord, or MammalMapper 

 


Trapping - Camera Placement Top Tips

Want to give trapping a go but not sure where to start? Or perhaps you already have cameras out but are looking for a few tips regarding placement? Here are our top tips for this month:

  1. The first and arguably most important thing to consider when placing a camera trap is to make sure that if you are putting it in an area that is not your property, you have the landowner’s permission. This will prevent any upset, or perhaps confiscated equipment, later down the line!
  2. Take some time to get to know the area well, look for signs of use from wildlife (tracks, prints, faeces for example). You may also want to take some time to quietly observe the area – a lot of species are creatures of habit and with a key eye you can locate key feeding or commuting areas.
  3. To cover the most ground, aim the camera along (rather than across) any runs, tracks or areas of interest.

If you have any further questions about trapping, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing info@PROTECTED


Using Environmental DNA (eDNA) to Monitor Mammals

Below Holly Broadhurst, PhD student at the University of Salford, discusses her latest research, comparing the effectiveness of camera trapping and eDNA survey methodology for research purposes. Thanks to Holly for such an interesting read!

"Imagine monitoring mammals without seeing, hearing, or even knowing that they are there. Sounds bizarre, right? There is DNA scattered around every natural environment as all species continuously shed organic material in the form of hair, skin cells, faeces, and urine. Scientists can isolate their DNA from environmental samples such as water from rivers, lakes and ponds, soil, and from the air! This is called environmental DNA or eDNA for short. Environmental DNA can be applied to a whole range of environments and can provide a snapshot of the mammalian communities which live in them by identifying multiple species simultaneously from one environmental sample. It is a technique that can detect the presence of elusive species, or those that are not known in the sampling area. It also has a use in enabling us to map the spread of non-native species.

Despite the power of eDNA for monitoring mammals, many limitations remain. Group-living and abundant species within a habitat are easily detected using eDNA, but those that are less abundant, such as some carnivores, or solitary need a little more work to detect them reliably. So, to test the efficiency of eDNA for monitoring mammals, the species detected can be compared with other reliable surveying methods such as camera trapping, and that is what I am doing for one of my PhD projects! Camera trapping is a well-established method for capturing mammals in real-time and has the amazing benefit of capturing natural behaviour through images and videos. However, when used for research, camera traps may unintentionally target, or miss, certain species depending on how they are positioned. For example, if a camera is placed on a tree, it may miss the smaller mammals that are running around below such as mice, voles and hedgehogs. This is where a combination of each method could be highly useful for building a picture of the entire mammalian community.

For my project, camera traps were set up along rivers and streams in Assynt, North-West Scotland, which is home to a diverse community of mammals, including water shrews, water voles, pine martens, otters, and weasels. At each site, footage was collected from any animals that triggered the cameras, and water samples were collected and filtered to isolate the DNA for laboratory analysis. The DNA sequences in the water samples were then matched to a database to discover which species are living around those sites. The mammal species identified from the camera trap images and eDNA samples were compared to help us find out if eDNA can become an established monitoring method.

Previous research in this area has shown that eDNA can match or outcompete camera trap surveys in the number of species detected and the amount of effort that is put into surveying. We are now comparing eDNA on much larger scale and over different seasons to further validate this.

eDNA would very much complement, not replace, traditional surveying methods - we still love to see the mammals our cameras capture! Environmental DNA has the power to extend evidence-based species distribution maps, but there is still room for improvement as we move into a new era of DNA-based methods."


Events and Talks

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming events that might be of interest! Most are online, but in person events are becoming preferable again as restrictions ease, so please do check that you can attend before booking!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online. Click on the links below to find out more.


Mammal Fact of the Month

Chemical communication is very important for Muntjac deer. As such, they will use the preorbital glands on their forehead to mark prominent trees and branches. Males will scent-mark more than females, and dominant males more than subordinate ones.


Camera Trap Quiz

Well done to everybody that correctly spotted the kingfisher in the February camera trap quiz below! Despite its signature blue and orange colouration, it blended in well and was tricky to spot. It was sent in by one of our members, and definitely kept us on our toes! Did you see it?

Our camera trap quiz this month was also sent in by one of our members. Let us know if you can spot anything hiding in this image. If you come across any tricky sequences feel free to send them to us at info@PROTECTED or on social media, and test the team's ID skills!

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more? We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

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MammalWeb Newsletter February 2022

Published on February 18th 2022

MammalWeb Newsletter February 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to the February issue of our newsletter! We hope you are keeping well and have had a good start to 2022!

Thankfully the days are getting longer again, but we still have some time to go before spring is in full swing. February sees animals such as bees and frogs becoming more active and some birds, like long-tailed tits, start building their nests ready to start egg-laying as soon as spring arrives. Now is a great time to get nestboxes up ready for garden birds like blue tits, great tits and sparrows. The RSPB and BTO websites have lots of information on putting up and maintaining nestboxes!

Coming up in this newsletter are January's spotter league, some highlights from camera trap images captured by our members and a chance to learn about the life of badgers! We also have brief thought on the challenges of controlling non-native populations in Britain. As always, we have our monthly mammal fact and camera trap quiz as well as some events and talks coming up in the next month!

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at  info@PROTECTED 


January 2022

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
240616780

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects.  


January 2022 Spotter League

Congratulations to our top ten spotters! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. 
PositionUser
1herefordstu
2Jimmytheeel
3jacqueline.mott
4Elle123
5Luko
6guppyfish
7DurhamMonitor
8Amy Josette
9Rochesterj
10Checchi

 


Camera Trap Highlights

Camera trapping is a great way to see animal behaviour without the disturbances associated with human presence. We love hearing from our members and often get sent some interesting footage caught on traps. Here are some of our favourite captures that we have come across recently. Feel free to email us at info@PROTECTED or get in touch via social media if you find any interesting footage in our traps!

Camera trapping allows us to see more of crepuscular or nocturnal animals. Despite what we might expect, foxes and badgers can actually be relatively tolerant of each other. Foxes are known to make use of abandoned badger setts and sometimes even share large setts. It is generally assumed that badgers remain dominant over foxes for both food and territory and will drive foxes out, especially if the badger has cubs. 

 

While widespread in continental Europe, pine martens are rare and elusive in Britain. Habitat fragmentation and hunting forced pine martens close to extinction here, but they are now protected. Pine martens are most common in northern Scotland but there are efforts to restore fragmented populations elsewhere in Britain. This marten was captured on a camera trap in the Forest of Dean, for our pine marten project with the Gloucestersire Wildlife Trust. This aims to individually identify pine martens by their bib patters. We always appreciate the help of spotters on this project and you can find out more here

 

We were recently sent some footage of a mustelid from Nice, France. While British mustelids are relatively easy to identify (we only have seven!), the rest of Europe has a wider range of species. Beech martens (also called stone martens) can appear similar to European pine martens and often co-occur so identification can be difficult. The pale patch of fur on beech martens can appear white, where pine martens have a cream coloured patch. Beech martens also inhabit urban areas more readily than pine martens so location can sometimes help differentiate them. 


Badgers in the Spotlight

European badgers (Meles meles) are one of our most recognisable species and our largest mustelid. They also play an important role in British ecosystems by maintaining soil health, foraging and dispersing seeds, and digging setts which in turn maintain habitat heterogeneity for other species. As mustelids, badgers are members of the carnivora group of mammals. Despite this, badgers are omnivorous and, while the majority of their diet is made up of worms, they also feed on fruits, berries and even small mammals like hedgehogs. 

Badgers live in family groups and have a fascinating mating system. Mating can occur all year round but peaks in spring. Despite this, the females delay implantation of fertilised eggs for many months so regardless of when mating occurred, most cubs will be born around February. This system is coupled with 'superfetation', where a female badger can be pregnant with multiple males' offspring at the same time, meaning litters can be born that are sired by multiple males. This may prevent infanticide by dominant males as there is no way for a male to discern which cubs were his. 

Badgers are incredibly house-proud and go to a lot of effort to keep their setts clean and free from parasites. They clean out their sleeping areas by removing used bedding to reduce parasites like ticks and fleas and have dedicated latrines at territory boundaries which keeps their waste away from their sleeping areas as well as providing scent markers to other groups.

Despite their importance in the ecosystem, badgers have been heavily persecuted in the UK after being connected with the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to domestic cattle. They have been subject to illegal wildlife crime as well as facing culls throughout the UK, even though there is little evidence that badgers pose a significant threat to cattle. There is an increasing desire to move towards non-lethal control of bTB in badgers without imposing large scale culls on the population. For more information, the Mammal Society and Badger Trust websites have great resources to learn about badger biology, ecology and bTB control. 


Non-native Species

Dealing with non-native and invasive species is a highly contentious topic in conservation. Britain has become home to many non-native plant and animal species through human introduction, some of which pose a threat to our native biodiversity while others seemingly coexist harmlessly.

Introductions of species such as Japanese knotweed and American mink are known to threaten native biodiversity in Britain, with the American mink posing a major threat to water voles. Control measures are in place to limit their numbers in a bid to protect their prey species. Non-native species can also threaten native biodiversity by competition and hybridisation. Red deer in Scotland and Ireland are facing hybridisation with introduced sika deer, and Scottish wildcats are increasingly interbreeding with domestic cats, threatening the wildcat population further. 

 

On the other hand, there are some species introduced to Britain that are seemingly posing no threat to native biodiversity and it has been argued that, as humans introduced them to Britain, we have a responsibility to protect them. Such a case can be made for the population of free-living wallabies introduced to an island in Loch Lomond, Scotland. These marsupials, native to Australia, were introduced to the island of Inchconnachan in the 1940's and have since established a population confined to the island. The wallabies of Loch Lomond attract tourism to the area, though it has been suggested that they may pose a threat to the island's capercaille population. The island's current owners have plans to remove the wallabies and develop holiday accommodation on the site but petitions to prevent this have gained a lot of traction, along with preventing other large-scale developments to the area.


Events and Talks

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming online events that might be of interest!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online. Click on the links below to find out more.


Mammal Fact of the Month

Most deer species are born with white spots on their coat. This isn't just to look cute: these spots play an important role in camouflaging fawns by breaking up the outline of the animal, making them difficult for predators to see, much like the disruptive camouflage seen in zebras' coats. Most deer lose these spots as they mature, like the adult roe deer here, but fallow deer and sika deer in Britain retain white spots throughout their life. 


Camera Trap Quiz

Last month's camera trap quiz was an otter, well done to everyone who go this correct! While movement can make identifying animals difficult, the wide flat tail of the otter, together with the surrounding environment are handy giveaways here. 

Our camera trap quiz this month was sent in by one of our members. Let us know if you can spot anything hiding in this image. If you come across any tricky sequences feel free to send them to us at info@PROTECTED or on social media, and test the team's ID skills!

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more? We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

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MammalWeb Newsletter January 2022

Published on January 25th 2022

MammalWeb Newsletter January 2022

Hello everybody and welcome to the January issue of the MammalWeb Newsletter. We hope that you have had a lovely festive period, and that 2022 is treating you well so far!

Mammals may seem elusive in winter because, compared to other times of year, it is a period of low activity for most. However, the winter months are a good opportunity to brush up on your field knowledge! Prints and tracks become much easier to spot in the snow, frost, or mud, so keep your eyes peeled. Alongside other signs such as evidence of feeding, you can begin to build up a picture of key commuting routes, which can be very helpful if you use targeted camera trap placements. 

In this newsletter we have December’s spotter league - with a 2021 overview, tips on how to help our hedgehogs, and a volunteering opportunity from the British Carnivore Project. We also announce the winner of our Christmas camera trap competition is announced! As usual, we also have advertised online talks, our monthly mammal fact and the camera trap quiz too.

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at  info@PROTECTED 


December 2021

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
351913853

 

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects.  


December 2021 Spotter League

Congratulations to our top ten spotters! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. 
PositionUser
1herefordstu
2Luko
3Jimmytheeel
4annedonnelly
5Gingerfox1971
6Gven
7WendyM
8Checchi
9PetaSams
10RustyKnight07

 


2021 Overview

We wanted to congratulate you all for your contributions throughout 2021 and to give you an insight to the statistics. Well done to everybody involved, we're very impressed!
Sequences uploadedSequences classified
88057148438

 

It's great to see that classification is outstripping uploads (almost 1.7:1)! Given that we need to get multiple classifiations per sequence or video, this is essential for us to make sense of the data.

2021 New Participants

We had a total of 58 new trappers in 2021, this was up from 44 new trappers in 2020 – let’s see if we can beat it again this year! Thank you to new and veteran trappers!

A remarkable 467 new spotters participated in MammalWeb for the first time last year. That is as many new spotters as we gained in the whole of 2018 and 2019 combined!

2021 Spotter League

Below is the league table for the whole of 2021, showing the top 10 spotters for the year. Congratulations to all of you, and thanks for such a sustained contribution over the year!
PositionUser
1cam trap
2TerriM
3emma_hummingbird
4PetaSams
5shellsmoore
6herefordstu
7vivcoy
8gcsmith
9Hector Gonzalez
10rainmac


How to help hedgehogs all year round

Hedgehogs are one of our most loved native species, but numbers are in decline. Please see the article below from Love Garden Birds for a few tips on what you can do to give them a helping hand, all year round.

"Hedgehogs symbolise the British countryside, and they are under threat. Our spiky friends need all the help we can offer. What simple things can you do to protect the hedgehog in the wild?

First, one of the best things you can do is to create access into your garden or offer shelter. Cutting a hole in your fence means a hedgehog can wander into your garden and feed on the grubs in your soil. You can also plant a hedge or make/ purchase a hedgehog house. Somewhere, anywhere, where the hedgehog can shelter from predation and keep warm will help.

Second, leave out supplementary food and water. Cat and dog food is fine for hedgehogs, meat or biscuits is best. Remember to leave only water and not milk, as the hedgehog’s stomach doesn’t take well to lactose.

Finally, keep the hedgehog safe from harm when in your garden. Avoid using slug pellets. Not only can the pellets harm hedgehogs, but slugs are a great food source for them too. Additional safety measures include making sure your pond is safe and easy to escape should a critter accidentally fall in, and thoroughly checking the area before strimming or starting bonfires."


The British Carnivore Project Volunteering

Volunteers are being sought to take part as 'Citizen Scientists' in the British Carnivore Project (BCP), an on-going field study that aims to explore the minds of wild red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and European badgers (Meles meles). BCP was established in 2021 by Dr Blake Morton, a comparative psychologist from the University of Hull in England.

What is comparative psychology? Comparative psychology is an exciting field of study that focuses on understanding how animals' minds shape their behaviour. Understanding animal minds and behaviour is important to society, anywhere from helping us understand our own brains and behaviour, to identifying solutions to major global problems like welfare and conservation.

Why foxes and badgers? Foxes have relatively large brains and are one of the most widely distributed carnivorans on the planet. European badgers have relatively smaller brains and are not as adaptable in terms of geographic distribution. Comparisons between foxes and badgers provide a unique opportunity to study the relationship between relative brain size and environmental adaptability from species living in the same study areas

What will BCP volunteers do? Volunteers will be given a trail camera and puzzle feeder to test fox and/or badger behaviour. You will need to deploy the camera and puzzle in an area you live in and then check the camera every 3 days for 14 days. It is intended that there will be no direct human-animal contact and that animals will visit locations when people are not present.

What are the requirements for volunteering?

All equipment necessary for completing the work will be provided, but fuel expenses will not be covered and therefore volunteers will need to arrange transportation themselves.

To find out more, please contact Dr Blake Morton, Department of Psychology, University of Hull, UK. Email: BCP@PROTECTED


Christmas Camera Trap Competition Winner

Last month, we announced that we were running a Christmas camera trap competition in which every camera sequence classified between 18th December 2021 and 14th December 2022 counted as an entry.

We are very happy to announce that the winner of our festive camera trap competition is Stuart Moore from Herefordshire! A huge congratulations! Stuart was a worthy winner, having classified over 3000 sequences during the competition!

We would also like to extend a big thank you to everybody who has contributed over the festive period, we had around 18K sequences classified in total which is a huge achievement and an amazing start to 2022!


Events and Talks

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming online events that might be of interest!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online. Click on the links below to find out more.


Mammal Fact of the Month

Water vole are one of the UK’s fastest declining mammal species. Introduction of the American mink, habitat degradation and pollution have all contributed to its decline. As such, the species has, since 1998, been partially protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. However, in 2008 their protection was strengthened as it was evident that, without full protection, they would likely become extinct.


Camera Trap Quiz

Do you know your deer species? Well done if you correctly identified the roe deer in the image below! Roe deer are a small species and one of our two native species (the other being red deer). They are common across Britain and often seen on camera trap images!

If you fancy another challenge, check out this month’s newsletter camera trap quiz below. Movement can make identifying animals tricky, but the surrounding environment and shape of the tail may be helpful clues! The answer will be revealed in the next issue of the newsletter.

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more? We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

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MammalWeb Newsletter December 2021

Published on December 9th 2021

MammalWeb Newsletter December 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to our final newsletter of the year! We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to MammalWeb in 2021! With winter in full swing, it is a difficult time for our wildlife, with many mammals reducing their activity to cope and many birds migrating. Recent storms have been tough for wildlife as well as people - with reports, for example, of mass mortality among grey seal pups at north-eastern breeding colonies. On the upside, winter is a great time for birdwatching, with redwings, ducks and many wading birds arriving in the UK from northern areas and eastern Europe. You might also be lucky enough to see starling murmurations in the evenings. Meanwhile, our summer visitors, such as swallows and cuckoos, are now in Africa where they will spend the winter.

Coming up in this newsletter are November’s spotter league, some exciting volunteering and job opportunities, and an update on our MammalNet-Ireland project. As always we have our monthly mammal fact and camera trap quiz. We are also running an exciting Christmas competition with the chance to win a camera trap!

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at info@PROTECTED. We hope you have a lovely festive period and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!


November 2021

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
435510700

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects.


November spotter league

Congratulations to our top ten spotters! Well done to all, your hard work is very much appreciated.
PositionUser
1LesleyF
2john durkin
3vkent
4RustyKnight07
5G_Fisher_1
6milfo
7cmlw71
8Satrus
9ehm02
10Sophia Brown

Keep an eye out for January's newsletter where we will have the top spotters of 2021!

In the next few weeks, keep an eye out on the spotter home page of our website under the "Contribute" tab. We will continue to promote the top 10 spotters in our newsletter, but the webpage will be dynamic so that you can see how close you are to being featured in the leader board!

If you are new to the site, you can read our ‘learn about spotting’ guide to get started!


Connecting Schools to Nature (Volunteering Opportunity)

In partnership with MammalWeb, the British Ecological Society is looking for volunteer environmental educators to join our ‘Connecting schools to nature in North East England’ project. Sign up here to gain access to a range of career development resources and support, as well as first-hand experiences in science communication and schools outreach to help inspire the next generation of ecologists (or even mammal experts!).

For more information, please see the British Ecological Society website, or get in touch with Alexa at alexa@PROTECTED. Thank you and we hope to see some of you on-board the project soon!


Rewilding Job Vacancies

Bunloit Rewilding Ltd are looking for a Chief Scientist to join their team on the Bunloit Estate on the shores of Loch Ness. The role will involve leading the research programme on the estate and leading the consultancy to Highlands Rewilding. For more information, visit the full job description here.

Highlands Rewilding Ltd are looking for an Operations Manager on the Beldorney Estate in Aberdeenshire. This is an exciting new project aiming to recover nature in the Highlands of Scotland. Candidates from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged to apply, for more information please see the job description by clicking here.

You can also contribute to Bunloit's work by classifying images from their camera traps. This can be found on the project page of our website, or by clicking here.


Mammal-Net Ireland Update

MammalNew-Ireland is a new citizen-science project in collaboration with Smartdeer, aiming to collect data on deer across Ireland. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project so far! We welcome contributions to classifying from anyone, whether you are based in Ireland or not.

Early indications are suggesting an overwhelming dominance of sika deer, an invasive non-native species in Ireland. Sika deer are originally from Japan and were introduced to Britain and Ireland in the 19th century. There are now naturalised populations in several areas of Britain and Ireland.

Sika pose a threat to native biodiversity and habitats in a number of ways. They damage trees with their antlers and by stripping bark from trees; they also browse on young shoots and seedlings, preventing woodland regeneration. Sika deer regularly hybridise with closely related red deer and threaten to permanently impact our largest native land mammal. This problem of hybridisation is especially prevalent in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland and in mainland Scotland.


Deer Identification

Current indications suggest there may have been some misclassification of deer on the MammalNet-Ireland project, so we have included a guide to help distinguish sika from the other deer species found in Britain and Ireland. The British Deer Society have more detailed information about the deer we find here, including distribution, behaviour and lifecycle. Our test yourself quizzes are also a great way to check your identification of many species found in our camera traps!

Sika Deer

Sika deer are medium-sized deer with a yellow-reddish brown coat with white spots in the winter which turns dark grey/black in the winter.

Fallow Deer

Fallow deer were also introduced to Britain, from the Mediterranean. Fallow deer are highly variable in appearance and many have white spots. This sometimes leads to confusion with sika deer, who have a spotted coat in the summer, though fallow deer's spots are present throughout the year.

Red Deer

In winter, sika deer are commonly mistaken for red deer, a closely related species with which sika regularly hybridise.

Roe Deer

Roe deer are a small species and one of our two native species (the other being red deer) they are common across Britain and often seen in camera traps.

Muntjac Deer

Muntjac deer are the smallest deer species found in the UK, originally from China, muntjac deer were introduced to Bedfordshire and are now found across southern England and the Midlands.

Chinese Water Deer

Chinese water deer, as the name suggests, originate in China but have established populations in the UK mainly confined to Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk which originated from escapees from Whipsnade Zoo in 1929.


New to the Team

We have a new communications intern starting this month, taking over from Tom Wright, who has moved on to focus on his new role as an animal management instructor at Reaseheath College. We are enormously grateful to Tom for all his voluntary work for MammalWeb, and the energy he brough to the role. We wish him success in his new job. Our new intern, Libby, will be working with Caitlin and the rest of the team to manage the social media accounts and emails, and the write the monthly newsletter: 

Hi, my name is Libby and I’m excited to be working with the MammalWeb team as a communications intern. I am an incoming masters student at St Andrews researching nest building in blue tits! I’m particularly interested in science communication and encouraging people from all backgrounds to get involved with nature and conservation.


Events and Talks

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming online events that might be of interest!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online. Click on the links below to find out more.


MammalWeb Christmas Competition!

This year we would like to thank you for your contributions by giving you the opportunity to win a camera trap! Every MammalWeb Britain sequence classified between 18th December - 14th January will give you a ticket entered into a prize draw and the winner will receive a new camera trap from us! We will announce the winner on our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and in next month's newsletter. Best of luck - and get spotting!


Mammal Fact of the Month

The males of most deer species grow antlers - used to fight other males for access to females - annually. But did you know that reindeer are the only deer species where the females also grow antlers? These are used to defend scarce patches of food from other females. As the UK only has one small herd of reindeer in the Cairngorms, you can be reasonably sure that any deer you see with antlers is male.


Camera Trap Quiz

Last month's camera trap quiz was a stoat hidden in the undergrowth! Well done if you got this right. Stoats are mustelids and can be difficult to tell apart from weasels. Stoats are larger than weasels and have a black tip to their tail. The Mammal Society has some handy ID guides with more information.

This month we have an opportunity to test your deer identification skills! What UK deer species is captured here? The answer will be in next month's newsletter!

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more? We can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

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MammalWeb Newsletter November 2021

Published on November 23rd 2021

MammalWeb Newsletter November 2021

Hello everybody and welcome to another issue of the MammalWeb newsletter; it's lovely to see so many new and returning subscribers. November brings cooler weather: some of our UK mammals will be looking to hibernate, others will decrease their activity levels to conserve energy. It is also nearing the start of fox breeding season, so you may hear more calling at this time of year.

This issue contains October’s sequence stats, our spotter league, an update on the Bonfire Night project, information on our new image manipulation tool and COP26, as well as an exciting opportunity for schools, upcoming talks, our usual mammal fact of the month and the camera trap quiz.

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at  info@PROTECTED


October 2021

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
716410520

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects. 


October spotter league

Congratulations to our top ten spotters, it's lovely to see so many new names in the mix this month! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. 
PositionUser
1jacqueline.mott
2nmenzies
3LSB
4PetaSams
5Conjamfin
6Musty
7TerriM
8john durkin
9Edward_Pollard
10Rochesterj

 

Did you know that classifying just 92 sequences will get you into our top 500 of all time? To date, the average number of classifications needed to get into our monthly top 10 is 260 – do you think you’d be able to beat this? Why not challenge yourself to classify an extra 10 sequences per visit to the site to begin with, and try to work your way up?

In the next few weeks, keep an eye out on the spotter home page of our website under the contribute tab. We will continue to promote the top 10 spotters in our newsletter, but this webpage will be dynamic so that you can see how close you are to being featured in the leader board!

If you are new to the site, you can read our ‘learn about spotting’ guide to get started! Find out who will be top of the league this month in our next newsletter.


New image manipulation tool

We are excited to announce that there is a brand-new manipulation tool on our website to be used when classifying sequences! When selected, it inverts the video or image in question so that lighter parts become darker and vice-versa.

The feature can be found in the top right-hand corner of the shot, next to the ‘location’ button (see image below). Here, we see an instance where the flash of the camera has compromised the quality of the shot. In the inverted image, some people will find it easier to see the outline of the fox as it stands out from the background scenery.

Above: Un-inverted image of a fox
Above: Inverted image of a fox

We have found that this is especially useful for clips that contain a lot of vegetation. When inverted, it is much quicker to spot any wildlife that may be hiding and provides reassurance that nothing has been missed! Below are a few more examples.

Above: un-inverted image of a squirrel tail
Above: inverted image of a squirrel tail
Above: un-inverted image of a muntjac deer
Above: inverted image of a muntjac deer

Its effectiveness will depend on how your eye perceives the contrasts - but it is a handy tool and a long-term feature request from contributors! We encourage you to go and give it a try!


A call for spotters - Bonfire night 2021 project

Some of you may remember that in last month’s newsletter we were asking for trappers with cameras out in urban areas to contribute their footage to our ‘Bonfire Night 2021’ project. We recieved a lot of image data - but, principally, from 3 sites. Many thanks to those who contributed these data.

We are now looking for volunteers to help with classifying the images or videos that people have submitted so that we can see whether there's a suggestion that Guy Fawkes celebrations have had an impact on our native wildlife. This is an important task that would not be possible without you! We are massively grateful to everybody that has already contributed as a spotter.

Once the data have been adequately classified, we will combine them with other data submitted during the same period to determine whether any changes around the weekend of 5th-7th November are detectable. 

The project can be found on the project page of our website, or by clicking here. If you have any questions, please get in touch via email at info@PROTECTED


Bunloit rewilding at COP26

In the wake of COP26, we wanted to bring attention to the work of the Bunloit Rewilding Team and congratulate everybody that helped to classify the project on our website. On 11th November, the team launched their Natural Capital Report at an event held in Glasgow at COP26. There, partners shared their experiences and what they have learnt about developing carbon and biodiversity baselines for the Bunloit estate on the western shore of Loch Ness.

Bunloit Rewilding has four main aims:

To achieve their aims, Bunloit Rewilding has set several impact goals:

With the help of MammalWeb spotters, 859 sequences have been classified to date, which has given a good initial snapshot of the animal species present on the estate and where they are. With the classifications you contributed, they were also able to identify whether the animals captured in images are of an adult, juvenile or unknown, providing a better understanding of the population dynamics. On the estate, it was found that sika deer were the most numerous mammal species, by far - accounting for 53% of all classifications, so far. Wild boar classifications came in second at 12% of overall classifications.

The project can expand upon the baseline data received to target further biodiversity improvements in the future. You can read the full 2021 report here.


Green Recovery Fund

You may have seen in a previous newsletter that MammalWeb is part of a partnership that received funding for the project ‘Connecting schools to nature in North East England’. You can read more about the project on our webpage hereWe’re excited to announce that teachers / schools can now apply to take part via the link below! 

APPLY HERE  

Schools who take part in this project will receive over £1000 worth of equipment to make your school ground more nature friendly, receive in-person classroom workshops delivered by British Ecological Society staff and volunteers, and gain opportunities for teacher training and CPD sessions, as well as access to a range of physical and digital resources, including a new web platform co-created with teachers to engage with the project. Any primary school located within the north east of England is welcome to apply. Please share this opportunity with any teacher / school you think may be interested! 

There will be the chance for 50 schools to take part in the project; however, there may be opportunities for more schools to access resources as they become available or to take part in future projects. Applications will close on 24th November, and applicants will be contacted the w/c 29th November

Should you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in contact with Alexa (alexa@PROTECTED) or Sammy (sammy@PROTECTED) at the British Ecological Society.


Online talks and events

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming online events that might be of interest!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online, click on the links below to find out more.


Mammal fact of the month

Unlike rabbits, brown hares do not use burrows, but instead make shallow depressions in the ground or grass known as forms. They have a preference for feeding at night, so unless disturbed, they will spend most of the day on or near the form. 


Camera trap quiz

Well done to everybody who correctly identified the pine marten in the last issue of the newsletter as individual FD03! The distinctive outline of the bib and the extent to which it comes up the chin makes the answer stand out from the other options!

If you would like to have another go at classifying pine marten individuals, you can find more information about our Forest of Dean pine martens project here.

The quiz this month is a tricky one! Can you spot what animal is hiding in the undergrowth? If so, do you know what species it is? The answer will be revealled in the December issue of the newsletter! 

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more? We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. We took a short break from the quiz posts during November, but they will return at the begining of December! 

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MammalWeb Newsletter October 2021

Published on October 25th 2021

MammalWeb Newsletter October 2021

Hello to new and returning subscribers! Welcome to the October issue of the MammalWeb newsletter! We hope that you are all keeping well. The nights are drawing in and it is definitely beginning to feel Autumnal. It is such a fantastic time of year as the trees are full of colour and there is still plenty of wildlife to keep an eye out for.

We hope that you enjoy this issue, it is jam packed with the September sequence stats and spotter league, details of a new Bonfire Night 2021 project, a Mammal Society featured blog post, a list of upcoming online talks for National Mammal Week, our mammal fact of the month, and our camera trap quiz.

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at info@PROTECTED


September 2021

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
51485435

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects. 


September spotter league

Congratulations to our top ten spotters, its lovely to see some new and familiar names in the mix this month! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. Find out who will be top of the league this month in our next newsletter.
PositionUser
1PetaSams
2TerriM
3shellsmoore
4Gven
5RustyKnight07
6hkwatson
7vivcoy
8Sam Seymour
9LSB
10Eloisemae


New project - bonfire night 2021

Calling all garden and urban trappers!! We’re asking if any footage captured between 28th October and 15th November could please be uploaded to our new ‘Bonfire Night 2021’ project.

There is often a focus on domestic animals such as cats and dogs at the time of Guy Fawkes’ celebrations, but little on the impact to our native wildlife. The ‘Bonfire Night 2021’ project has therefore been created to seek evidence for the impacts of this activity on wildlife, particularly changes in behaviour. Fireworks especially can have a negative effect, causing anxiety and stress which can often be captured on trail cameras. This year, with some large displays again not running, it is possible that we will see an increase in garden fireworks which would in turn increase the scope of the impact.

It is important that we have well represented dataset, so the more people involved the better! We are hoping that if evidence for the impact of bonfire celebrations can be well documented, more can be done to put alternative celebrations in place.

Don’t own a camera trap or live in a rural area? We would also be enormously grateful for any contributions to the task of classifying what is in the images submitted!

After 15th November when the project is complete, we will subsume the images into the wider MammalWeb-Britain project.

The project can be found on the project page of our website, or by clicking here. If you have any questions, please get in touch via email at info@PROTECTED


Forest of Dean pine martens

Most of you will know Sian Green for her contributions to running MammalWeb alongside her PhD that is focused on improving engagement and assessing camera trap methods and their impacts on both engagement and ecological inferences. Recently, Sian has also been working with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, using camera traps to study pine martens that were previously reintroduced to the Forest of Dean.

It is very important to monitor the success of a re-introduction programme to know if a new, stable population has been created. After an initial study revealed that the Forest was not adequate for monitoring pine martens at a low density, a different approach (involving baiting the camera trap points with eggs and peanut butter!) was trialled this time. Baiting increased the chance of pine marten detection, and also increased the amount of time that an individual would spend in front of a camera. In turn, it made it possible to closely inspect the creamy coloured bib on the chin/ chest of each pine marten and differentiate individuals based off the pattern of their markings. Knowing which individuals are using what areas of the Forest means that a detailed profile can be built that can then be used to learn about the ecology of the species in the area. 

Identifying individual pine martens by classifying camera trap footage can be time consuming if working alone, and with many conservation projects short on time and funds, citizen scientists such as yourselves are invaluable!  

If you would like to have a go at spotting, you can find the Forest of Dean Pine Martens project on our website. The project has been running on MammalWeb for a while now, but new images are uploaded regularly and any contributions are greatly appreciated.

Sian’s research featured in a Mammal Society student spotlight. Read the full article here. You can also check out our camera trap quiz at the end of the newsletter if you would like to practise classifying individuals before entering the project.


Online talks and events

Monday 25th October to Sunday 31st October Mammal Society are hosting National Mammal Week, and as such, there are some great upcoming talks that may be of interest to you. Most are free to attend!

A large number of organisations now prefer to make their talks and webinars remote. If you have missed any, or would like to browse what is available, use the below links as a starting point (there are many more fantastic organisations that have talks and webinars also still available to watch!).

Prefer reading to watching? To celebrate Mammal Week NHBS are offering a 20% discount on Mammal Society published books! They have a great collection of books from general guides to mitigation handbooks on Britain’s Mammals – click here to browse the collection!


Mammal fact of the month

Beavers are ecosystem engineers! By building dams, they are able to create new wetland habitats that can benefit a huge range of species! Dams can also improve water quality downstream as they can capture agricultural runoff.


Camera trap quiz

The animal in last month’s camera trap quiz was a fox! Well done to everyone that spotted it, it was a tricky one!

The quiz for this issue is below. Can you correctly identify the individual pine marten in the sequence of camera trap images below? It is the same individual in all three shots, and it can be identified by its unique bib pattern – give it a go and the answer will be revealed in the November newsletter.

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more?! We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook

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MammalWeb Newsletter September 2021

Published on September 21st 2021

MammalWeb Newsletter September 2021

Hello and welcome to another issue of the MammalWeb newsletter! Summer seems to be coming to an end and Autumn is just around the corner. In recent weeks, you may have noticed flocks of swallows or house martens becoming restless as they begin to migrate. Late summer is also an excellent time to see water voles as bank-side vegetation isn’t quite so tall and youngsters have matured enough to leave their burrows to feed. 

Included in this month’s newsletter is our sequence stats and spotter league, a summary of the newest projects, species identification top tips, online talks and events, our mammal fact of the month, and of course our monthly camera trap quiz.

We love hearing from you, and if you have anything that you would like to be included in next month’s newsletter, please get in touch at info@PROTECTED


August 2021

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
15886733

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects. 


August spotter league

Congratulations to our top ten spotters, its lovely to see some new and familiar names in the mix this month! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. Find out who will be top of the league this month in our next newsletter.
PositionUser
1MKII
2DurhamMonitor
3Echo.Lawrence
4vivcoy
5diana crane
6wolfee
7Bob Philpott
8Andyp
9hancock_urban
10Luko


New projects

We are extremely excited to introduce you to our latest projects below, if you would like to take part in classifying any of our projects, you can find more information here

Small mustelid camera trapping

Surveying for small mustelids such as stoats and weasels can be notoriously difficult. Sightings are infrequent and field signs are hard to detect. For many hard-to-survey mammal species, camera trapping has proved a good alternative; however, their small size and speedy movements make small mustelids elusive quarry for most camera trappers. Stoats and weasels are thought to be widespread and abundant across Britain but, with no reliable survey methods, there is very little data on their populations.

In an effort to combat this data deficiency, the Vincent Wildlife Trust is currently trialling a new kind of camera trap setup, designed to increase detectability of small mustelids. Called ‘Mostelas’, the setup consists of a wooden box with a piece of piping running through it, and with the side of the pipe contained within the box being open. Within the box, a camera trap is placed facing the open pipe. The Mostelas are then placed in likely habitat, such as field margins, woodland edges and in hedgerows. Small mustelids are curious, and the hope is that they will enter the box and investigate, slowing them down and directing them into the field of view of the camera trap inside the box.

This project aims to determine whether Mostelas could be an effective way to survey for small mustelids and so at each site where a Mostela box is located, an additional camera trap facing the Mostela entrance is placed. This will show whether animals are entering the box or whether they are just passing by. So far, it seems that the boxes are a big hit with the local weasel population, with lots of footage of weasels inside the Mostelas and even pairs of weasels coming in to play. Surprise visitors to the Mostelas include polecats, who also seem to enjoy running in and out of the tunnels and rolling around in the boxes!

A large number of small mammals such as mice, voles and shrews are also visiting the camera sites and both the cameras in the Mostelas and the external cameras are collecting large volumes of videos which the Vincent Wildlife Trust now needs help in sorting through. This project is a great place to see footage of species such as weasel and polecat rarely seen on other camera trap projects as well as some interesting animal behaviour as they enter the boxes. At the same time, you will be actively contributing to development of better mustelid survey methods.

Thornhill Carrs Nature Reserve

This 30-hectare area of former farmland is a unique site, rare within The Peak District National Park for its unmanaged Wildness. It is currently home to a fantastic array of wild wood land, scrub and beautiful wildflower meadows.

Thornhill is a steep sided valley, dominated by extensive hawthorn scrub and open glades. The reserve is important for summer bird migrants, with blackcap, chiff chaff and willow warbler all audible as they take advantage of this ever rarer habitat. In July, the site is rich in wildflowers which attract many species of bee, butterfly and hoverfly. It is a new site that Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has managed since spring 2020, and a new approach is planned for its management, allowing nature to dictate how the site evolves. There will be grazing animals on the site in very low numbers to keep the clearings open by keeping the scrub and bramble in check.

As part of a wider monitoring programme, camera traps are being used to establish a baseline for wildlife at Thornhill Carrs. To learn more, and to get involved in classifying the project, head to the website here


Identifying species

Whilst classifying mammals for a MammalWeb project, you may also stumble upon local birdlife that has also been captured on camera. Below is a quick guide to some of the commoner birds that you may come across! Images are courtesy of RSPB.


Online talks and events

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more our native wildlife? Below are a handful of upcoming online events!

Over lockdown, a large number of organisations made talks and webinars on a variety of different topics. These are still available to watch online, click on the links below to find out more.


Mammal fact of the month

Did you know that Scotland’s Water Voles have different ancestry to the rest of the UK? Scottish water voles are black and descended from Iberian animals. Those found in elsewhere in the UK are brown and are the descendants of animals from South-East Europe.

Camera trap quiz

Well done to everyone that correctly identified last month’s newsletter camera trap quiz as a capercaillie! This very rare UK bird can be found in parts of Scotland, often confined to native pinewoods.

This month’s quiz can be found below. When animals are travelling, they can be much harder to identify! Any guesses as to what animal is in this shot? The answer will be revealed in the October issue of our newsletter!  

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more?! We can be found on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook

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MammalWeb Newsletter August 2021

Published on August 17th 2021

MammalWeb Newsletter August 2021

Hello to all our brilliant MammalWeb users! We hope that you are all well and making the most of the unpredictable British summer. It's hard to believe that it is time for August’s newsletter already.

After all the hot, dry weather it is great to see some rain. Our wildlife will be grateful for it! The dry weather can be tough for species such as hedgehogs, making it difficult to find their favourite foods of slugs and snails. Some of you may have noticed that they are appearing earlier in the evenings in the hot weather, snuffling off in search of food.

In this newsletter, we will be bringing you: last month’s sequences statistics, the top 10 spotter league table, spotlight on the Vincent Wildlife Trust’s new plan for pine marten recovery, help with species identification, mammal fact of the month and our monthly camera trap quiz.


July 2021

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
36269678

It's great that the MammalWeb is so popular! These statistics include all photos from the MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects. 


July spotter league

It is time to reveal the top 10 spotters for July! It's brilliant to see that so many people regularly give their time to classifying footage!
PositionUser
1cam trap
2TerriM 
3PetaSams
4emma_hummingbird
5rahill
6vivcoy
7sammykwild
8shellsmoore
9brinmar2000
10diana crane


Exciting News  

We’re excited to announce that MammalWeb has been awarded funding from the UK Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.  The funded project is led by the British Ecological Society, in partnership with SMASH-UK, an engagement charity.  It aims to deliver a green transformation to 50 schools in the North East of England and to create the ‘Environmental Educators of tomorrow’.  Specifically, we hope to increase the connection of school pupils to nature, collaborating with teachers to develop practical workshops and deliver biodiversity enhancements to school grounds.  The programme will benefit wildlife through the creation of wildflower areas, hedgehog-highways, bird-feeding stations, nest-boxes and insect ‘hotels’.  Pupils will then become citizen scientists, monitoring the wildlife around their schools.  This work builds on past work with schools led by Sammy Mason and Pen-Yuan Hsing.  We hope that project success will be the catalyst for a wider roll-out around the UK. 

Previously, Sammy has worked with primary schools across the North East of England helping them to set up camera traps to monitor wildlife in their school grounds. To read more about Sammys work click here.

Mobile MammalWeb at Rainton Meadows

Last month we installed a new Mobile MammalWeb interactive display in the visitor centre at Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve, Houghton-le-Spring. MammalWeb was initially developed in partnership with Durham Wildlife Trust and its members, and so it is fitting that visitors can now engage with MammalWeb at Durham Wildlife Trust’s headquarters.  In addition to classifying images from camera traps on the nature reserve, users can access MammalWeb Britain as well as a range of other information. So why not enjoy a day out to Rainton  Meadows and spend a little time on MammalWeb too!

The mobile MammalWeb setup at Rainton Meadows

Pine Marten Recovery in Britain 

Over the past few years, pine martens have regularly been in the news, with coverage including new populations returning to their historic ranges; natural recolonisation as populations grow; and reintroductions and reinforcements. Marten recovery is a positive conservation story, offering hope to wildlife across the UK. Martens are, perhaps, unlikely allies to the red squirrel but, with pine marten return, comes hope for red squirrel population recovery! 

The Vincent Wildlife Trust are leaders in pine marten research and conservation within the UK. In July, they published their long-term plan for Pine Marten Recovery in Britain. 

The plan considers how best to conserve existing marten populations, to promote and aid natural recolonisation, and to identify where reintroductions maybe needed. The plan identifies several “priority optimal” areas for marten reintroductions and proposes a national approach to marten recovery and population restoration in order to guide conservation efforts across the UK. The plan offers hope that we will continue to see marten populations recovering across Britain! If you would like to read the full report, click here.


Identifying Species

With six species of deer living in the UK, it can often be challenging to identify which species you have captured on camera. That is why, this month, we are giving you tips on identifying Britain’s deer.

Roe deer are widespread across Britain, appearing regularly on camera traps, and are one of only two native deer species.

Fallow deer are not native to Britain and were introduced in the 11th century from the Mediterranean. Fallow deer are highly variable in appearance but have four main coat patterns

Red deer are our largest deer species and are our second native deer. Red deer are common in parts of the UK, especially Scotland. Red deer interbreed with sika deer, and it is likely that the animals seen in mainland Scotland are mainly hybrids.

Sika deer were introduced to Britain in the 1960’s and are originally from Japan. When in their summer coats, sika deer can often be mistaken for fallow deer and, in the winter, they may be confused with red deer.

Muntjac deer are the smallest of the deer found in the UK. Originally from China, muntjac were introduced to the south of England in the 20th century. They are now found right across southern England and the Midlands, with their population and range continuing to expand. 

Chinese water deer are non-native, having first established wild populations in the UK following escape from Whipsnade Zoo in 1929. Their population in the UK is mainly confined to Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and Norfolk. Chinese water deer are globally endangered , and 10% of their total population is found in Britain.


Online talks and events

Do you fancy catching up with conservation and learning more about our wild neighbours? If so, take a look at these upcoming online events!

There are also a number of organisations who made past talks and webinars, on a variety of topics available online. Click on the organisations below to view their talks.


Mammal Fact of the Month

Did you know that 2022 will see bison return to the British countryside, after an absence of 6000 years! The Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust are releasing a group of bison into a fenced area of Blean Woods as part of the Wilder Blean project! To find out more about this pioneering project click here.


Camera trap quiz

The animal in last month's camera trap quiz was a beaver, well done to everybody who got it correct. Often confused with otters, beavers have a larger, more rounded body, and a long flat scaly tail.

Now time for this month’s camera trap quiz! We are venturing outside the world of mammals and asking you what rare British bird species is in the image bellow? All will be revealed in next month’s newsletter.

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more?! We can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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MammalWeb Newsletter July 2021

Published on July 13th 2021

MammalWeb Newsletter July 2021

Welcome to another issue of the MammalWeb monthly newsletter. We hope you are all safe and well! 21stJune saw the summer solstice, but the days are still long, and we hope you are enjoying the warmer weather. It’s a great time of year to get outdoors and explore new places brimming with wildlife, as there’s plenty to see! If you’re out and about at dusk, be sure to look up and keep an eye out for bats. You may even see them foraging above your garden!

Included in this month’s newsletter is June’s sequence stats and spotter league, an update on our latest projects, a focus on proposed changes to the Wildlife and Countryside Act, species identification top tips, and of course, our monthly camera trap quiz.


June 2021

Sequences uploadedSequences classified
844917395

These values include all photos from the general MammalWeb Britain project, and our other public projects. Thank you to everyone who has uploaded and classified photos this month!


June spotter league

Congratulations to our top ten spotters, its lovely to see some new and familiar names in the mix this month! Well done to all, your hard work is always appreciated. Find out who will be top of the month in July in our next newsletter.
PositionUser
1cam trap
2emma_hummingbird
3TerriM
4shellsmoore
5PetaSams
6MaxT
7gcsmith
81bachA_sanblas
9sammykwild
10diana crane


New projects

We are thrilled to introduce you to our two latest projects StemtoStem and Deerbolt Prison. Below is a synopsis of each, written by the project coordinators. You can find out more about these, or any other of our other projects, on our website.

StemtoStem:

STEMtoSTEM began its series of weekly Citizen Science workshops, on the 22nd of June with three Year 5 classes at St. Joseph’s Primary School in Hendon. This project came about after a meeting with Sister Anthony (a previous retired Headteacher); she showed us pictures of what Hendon used to look like many decades ago, helping us understand and visualise the scale of development in Barnet. The greenspace and pond area at St. Joseph’s Primary school is overgrown, underused and the pond water level has decreased significantly. This motivated our team to raise awareness of the amazing potential and impact greenspaces have on our communities and the environment.

We linked the indoor and outdoor classroom together by taking all three classes to the greenspace to install the trail cameras bought from NatureSpy and borrowed from MammalWeb. The following week, the Year 5 pupils classified the images collected from the trap cameras and learnt about animals using resources available on the MammalWeb website. We spotted a family of foxes, squirrels, dogs and even a fox with a meal in its mouth. The pupils learnt about habitats and the importance of ecosystems and biodiversity in our locality. The pupils were engaged and excited, and we had interesting discussions about knowledge giving us power as citizen scientists. Last week the pupils measured air pollution data with Plume Labs Flow 2 sensor powered by a solar panelled backpack, and this week we will be going on a litter collecting trip whilst learning about valuable materials and pollution.

Deerbolt Prison:

MammalWeb has partnered with HM Prison Deerbolt, a Young Offenders Institution, to support the creation of the Deerbolt Wildlife Community Engagement Hub in the visitor centre.  This partnership supports Deerbolt’s ambition to be Britain’s Greenest Prison and is one of a range of local activities. 

Deerbolt’s ‘Greenest Prison’ project aims to encourage a culture shift amongst staff and the prison population towards environmentally sustainable behaviours.  Staff and the young men in Deerbolt's care are working together as a ‘joint enterprise’ to have a positive impact on the environment. As part of the partnership with MammalWeb, the workshops within the prison have been manufacturing camera trap housings, and also designing and implementing new habitat management within the prison grounds. We hope that there will also be additional benefits of increasing the residents contact with nature and improving their local environment, particularly in terms of improving mental health and wellbeing.  Long term, we want the project to have a substantial positive impact on all individuals who work and reside within the environment of a very challenging Young Offender establishment.

The Deerbolt project is now live on MammalWeb, with video footage collected from camera traps in the habitat around the prison.  In the next few weeks, we will be launching an interactive MammalWeb touchscreen information source in the visitor centre, repurposing the centre into a dual function Visitor Centre and a newly created ‘Deerbolt Wildlife Community Engagement Hub’. Nesting boxes with cameras will also provide footage to a TV in the centre, as will cameras focussing on the pipistrelle bat colony in the centre roof.  Collectively, we look to provide an enriching experience to visitors to the prison. 

Watch this space for further updates on the launch of the Wildlife Community Engagement Hub as well as an updated interactive MammalWeb touchscreen at the Hancock Museum and a new installation at Durham Wildlife Trust’s Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve.


Proposed changes to the Wildlife and Countryside Act

A number of changes have been proposed to Schedule 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), impacting the legislation that protects many of the UK’s plant and animal species.

Every five years, the statutory nature conservation bodies for the United Kingdom (Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and NatureScot) review the act, and provide recommendations to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and to Ministers for the Environment in the Scottish Government and Welsh Government. The amendments suggested in the current review would change the eligibility criteria for the species that are protected under the act, meaning that only European Protected Species, or species at immediate risk of extinction as defined by the IUCN red list, would be protected. This would put at risk large numbers of species that do not currently show a decline, or species that have not been assessed by the IUCN, as they would no longer be safeguarded by law. The changes would instead allow building developments to take place with little or no consideration of the impacts on formerly protected species such as water voles or pine martens. Other taxa excluded from protection include slow worms, adders, smooth newts, palmate newts, grass snakes and more. 

Experts and NGOs from across the country have raised their concerns about the changes, which were proposed without due consultation, and are now asking for their voices to be heard to ensure that any decisions made are well informed and reflect what is best for the species concerned.

Vincent Wildlife Trust have released the following statement:

“We strongly disagree with the underlying message that a species is considered worthy of protection only when it is on the verge of extinction. While it is undeniable that the IUCN Red list has an important role to play in raising conservation awareness, under the IUCN criteria, species are not listed until they are in high peril. By this time, the chances of conservation success are reduced and will inevitably take more time, money and other resources than if steps are taken sooner to pre-empt decline. The IUCN categories have been described as ambiguous and fail to reflect the distance of an extant population from a risk averse minimum population size required for the long-term viability and evolutionary potential of a population. A further drawback is that the relatively short trend period covered since implementation of Red Lists means that trends for species in decline since the 1970s that have now levelled off may not show up in the data and therefore elude red list inclusion, despite being vulnerable to, or at risk of, extinction.”

Read the full report here


Identifying species

We continue with our top tips feature and this month we are focusing on marvellous mustelids! Below are some key identification features to help you distinguish the difference between a stoat and a weasel.

Stoats and weasels are very closely related, belonging to the same genus Mustela. This can make it tricky to tell them apart in camera trap images.

The easiest way to differentiate between the two is by looking at the tail. Stoats have a black paintbrush-like tip at the end of their tail, whereas weasels do not. A weasel tail is short, stubby, and entirely orange-brown.

But what if the tail isn’t visible? Fortunately, there are other subtle differences that can be used to tell these small mammals apart.

The Mammal Society have created a handy visual guide, which is pictured below.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next issue, where we will continue to focus on the identification of hard-to-classify species!


Camera trap quiz

The animal in last month's camera trap quiz was a beaver, well done to everybody who got it correct. Often confused with otters, beavers have a larger, more rounded body, and a long flat scaly tail.

See below for the latest camera trap quiz. Any idea what species is pictured? The answer will be revealed in next month's newsletter. 

If you enjoy our monthly camera trap challenges, why not follow us on social media for more?! We can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

 

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