The most recent, county-specific atlas of mammals (Mammals in Wiltshire) was published by Wiltshire Mammal Group in 2017; while the most recent assessment of the conservation status of mammals at a superregional level was published in 2018 (A Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals). A key conclusion of this latter work is the unacceptably high level of uncertainty on a number of species and habitats. In addition, based upon the current number of records received, the house mouse is one of the rarest mammals in Wiltshire! This goes to show that many common mammals are very under-reported and under-recorded.
Information about the distribution of mammals is key for ascertaining their status of conservation, and this can help ensure that informed measures are put in place for their protection if appropriate. This distribution information is gathered via formal surveys, often undertaken by professionals in academia or in consultancy work, as well as through a variety of records submitted by members of the public.
How can you help?
Please support our recording work by submitting records of the mammals you see, whether they are casual observations (maybe you’ve seen hedgehogs in your garden, foxes on your allotment, brown hares whilst walking your dog, or maybe you caught a house mouse in your pantry!) or the result of surveys (either professional or amateur surveys are valuable).
By reporting your sightings you help to build up a better picture of the present distribution of mammals and identify changes in their population across the whole county. Being able to do this accurately relies upon everyone and anyone submitting their records.
In addition to recording mammals, should you come across a dead mammal, you may be able to pass the carcass on to help with conservation research. Follow this link to find out what to do with dead mammal remains!
What records can be submitted?
All mammal records throughout the county are of interest, whether they are a result of a casual observation or a formal survey. All species of mammals are of interest, even the most common ones, alive or dead. And, in addition to the mammals themselves, you can also record their tracks and signs; this is particularly useful for recording elusive mammals!
The minimum basic information required for any record is:
What is the species – give the scientific (Latin) and/or English name (if there is one).
Where did you see it – give a precise location and a six figure grid reference.
When did you see it – day, month, year.
Who saw it – give a name. If you did not identify it, also give us the determiner’s name.
Circumstances of the observation – did you see it foraging at night, dead on the side of the road, etc.
Your record will be verified by the county recorder, a volunteer expert. Additional information to verify your record, such as photographs, is also desirable but not essential.
If you are interested in taking a mammal sample, you can find further information here.
How do I submit mammal sighting records?
There are a number of ways in which you can record and submit your records, to suit many different levels of digital ability and numbers of records.
If you’d prefer to submit records from your phone then why not try the new Mammal Mapper app for iOS and Android? The app provides an easy way to identify and submit records of mammals whilst you’re out and about. It can be downloaded free from the iTunes App Store and Google Play and includes guidance on species identification, differentiating “Confusion Species” and enables you to submit geo-located photos. It ensures that records are available to The Mammal Society.
iRecord is another smartphone-based or desktop-based app for recording wildlife. Register to use it and download for free – it enables you to submit geo-located records, including pictures, using the GPS in your smartphone and ensures that records are available to national recording schemes, including the Mammal Society. You will be notified by email when your record has been verified.
Electronic recording form
Using a simple spreadsheets is a great way to submit a number of records. Choose from the WSBRC standard recording form or the detailed recording form (recommended for bat, badger, water-vole and otter records). Once complete, you can email your form to the county recorder.
If you cannot use any of the above methods, small numbers of records can be emailed directly to the county recorder; however, this adds to an already large workload verifying records and should be avoided. Remember, county recorders are also volunteers. The above mentioned methods, either via apps, websites or electronic forms, ensure that records are easy to collate for verification and import into the biological record database.
What happens next?
The county recorder will collate and verify your records and add them to our ever-growing database of mammals and bats in Wiltshire. We share these records with partner organisations to ensure they feed into development proposal, policy and land management.
If you are recording a dead animal or the remains of an animal, please consider also taking a sample, that may be useful for research and contribute to mammal conservation.
How can I find out what records there are available already?
In addition to having a look at our new publicly-available atlas, Mammals in Wiltshire, you can now search online in the NBN Atlas. Please direct any additional requests for records and data searches directly to the WSBRC.