A CONSERVATION charity is urging people to report animals they see on road journeys, dead of alive, to monitor the changing state of Britain’s wildlife populations.
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is launching the ‘Mammals on Roads’ app to record wildlife sightings this July.
The charity is calling on volunteers to record any sightings via their phones and tablets for their annual survey intended to help understand population changes, and how best to protect endangered mammals.
Previous survey results have seen PTES start a campaign to protect hedgehogs after discovering populations had declined by around a third since 2001.
PTES Survey Officer David Wembridge says: “Nobody likes seeing dead wildlife on the sides of roads, but the sightings helps us gain a greater understanding of population trends. With volunteers using the app on their car journeys, they are helping to build a bigger picture of British wildlife, enabling us to make informed decisions about protecting those species most in danger.”
Results from previous surveys have seen rabbit numbers fall and although still widespread in Britain, rabbits are endangered across their native range in Europe. From the first survey in 2001, numbers have decreased by 25 per cent and in the last five years the decline is even steeper, a PTES spokeswoman said.
The loss of rabbits has repercussions as they are important prey for many predators and without their grazing, woody species become established, replacing the chalk grassland that is an important habitat for species such as the large blue butterfly, she added.
People are encouraged to add to the data between July and September, when many of wildlife’s young animals may be leaving the parental home.
You can take part using the free app or alternatively complete the survey on the web or post. Phone 020 74984533 to request a pack.