Many of you will have been pleased to see the news, a couple of weeks ago, that pine marten appear to be spreading into Northumberland (e.g., see this article in The Guardian). The recovery of pine marten in England is an exciting development for nature enthusiasts, and could help to alleviate pressure on our native red squirrels.
We're really excited to announce a new partnership with NatureSpy, a non-profit organisation that - like MammalWeb - aims to engage people with the wildlife around them, and to research and conserve wildlife and habitats through study and monitoring. NatureSpy run a variety of projects and, at present, they are organising an intensive, 3-year project to study pine marten in the North York Moors. With the aid of volunteers, they are currently rotating camera traps around a variety of sites in the North York Moors, and a proportion of those traps are set to record still images. The traps yield large numbers of images and those will help to inform NatureSpy about the ecology of the area, aiding the development of a long-term conservation plan for pine marten in the area. If we're lucky, we might even see a picture or two of a pine marten!
If you are registered as a Spotter, the NatureSpy images will be available to classify by selecting "Classify All" from your Spotter home screen. To focus your efforts on helping the NatureSpy team, you can select "NatureSpy - North York Moors" and choose "Classify Selected Project Only".
You can also read a post about this project on the NatureSpy blog, here.
Much of the monitoring conducted by NatureSpy (as well as many other individuals and organisations) uses video, rather than still images. We know that a capacity to handle video (rather than just image sequences) is an aspect of the platform that many of you would like to see us develop. Over coming months, we will be looking for ways to resource this (both the development and the subsequent hosting of large video files); we'll keep you posted regarding progress!