How gardeners can help wildlife during the summer and beyond

As a wildlife study launches, experts show how we can all do our part to help mammals, birds and insects.

Not only people have suffered from the blistering temperatures of the past few weeks.

Wildlife, including hedgehogs, hares, bats and badgers, could be battling this summer’s harsh conditions, according to a wildlife charity.

Still, the impact of the changing climate on wildlife numbers is barely known, says the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). In August, it calls for people to participate in wildlife surveys, both in their gardens and out during the summer holidays, and offers a number of hands-on ways to help a variety of species.

David Wembridge, PTES mammalian research coordinator says:

“Capturing wildlife day by day and year by year is key to conservation.

“Without that knowledge, we don’t know what’s going on and we can’t act to save wildlife.”

PTES is looking for volunteers in the UK to participate in the two annual wildlife surveys: Living with Mammals (ptes.org/lwm) and mammals on roads (ptes.org/get-involved/surveys/road) which begins on August 1 and runs throughout the year.

For Living with Mammals, volunteers are asked to record sightings of wild mammals (or the marks they leave, such as footprints or feces) in a yard or local green space such as a park or allotment by submitting weekly records online.

PTES also wants records from further afield to track wildlife in our countryside, as some of the greatest declines are seen there. With this in mind, people are being asked to participate in the charity’s Mammals on Roads survey by downloading the free app of the same name and reviewing any road trips and sightings of traffic fatalities seen along the way, either from your car, RV or on the road. to work.

Photo by David Wembridge. Photo credit: Alex Harvey-Brown/PTES/PA.

Wembridge explains:

“Nobody likes to see road deaths, but by counting casualties, we can see how populations are changing and, most importantly, where conservation actions are needed. By capturing road deaths and the wildlife you see in your yard, we can better understand our wild neighbors and help protect the most needy species.”

Findings from Living with Mammals are the basis of national reports such as the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022, published by PTES and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society in February, which indicated a more positive view of urban hedgehogs than previously thought and that numbers in urban areas could may begin to recover after decades of decline.

Insights like these are based on long-running citizen science projects like Living with Mammals and are vital to conservation, the charity explains.

Over the 20-year history of the study, the data has also shown that the numbers of muntjac have increased, while the numbers of bats and rabbits have decreased. The number of foxes and gray squirrels has changed little.

“Understanding how wild populations, such as those of urban hedgehogs, change is so important and without the help of humans to capture the species around them, we cannot begin to conserve and protect the natural world,” adds he to it.

Photo of a muntjac deer in a garden. Image credit should be: Alamy/PA.

There are other ways everyone in the yard can help wildlife for the rest of this summer, PTES advises.

1. Provide a shallow dish of water, which is good for ground-dwelling mammals such as hedgehogs and foxes, as well as birds, butterflies and other insects.

2. Provide shady places to get out of the sun on hot days

3. Create a ‘Hedgehog Highway’ – a 13 x 13 cm square opening (the size of a CD case) at the base of your fence or wall, connecting your garden to your neighbour’s property.

4. If you have a pond, make sure there is a ramp so any animals that go in can get out safely.

5. Make piles of wood for invertebrates such as stag beetle.

To participate in Living with Mammals 2022 (and learn how to identify different mammals from pine marten to polecat), go to: ptes.org/lwm.

To record mammals on the go, search for Mammals on Roads in the App Store or Google Play. For more information visit ptes.org/mor.

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