Help mammals by counting roadkill this summer

A citizen science project is aiming to help conservation efforts in the UK by asking volunteers to record roadkill sightings.

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An estimated one million mammals are killed on UK roads each year, and whilst dead badgers and foxes can be a sad sight for motorists, recording their numbers can be of vital help to conservation work.

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Leading conservation charity The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)’s project Mammals on Roads helps the charity record changes to mammal populations and take action where needed. Previous years of data have, for example, confirmed that hedgehog numbers have declined by a third over the last decade, ensuring they can be prioritised by charities like the PTES. 

This August and September the charity is asking wildlife-loving volunteers to help with this essential work, which has surveyed over half a million kilometres of road since it began in 2001.

All you need to do is record sightings of mammals, dead or alive, up to the 30th September. Your journey must be 20 miles or more, excluding urban areas and on a single-lane carriageway and completed in one day. So why not add some conservation volunteering into your next family day trip to the countryside?

You might spot foxes, badgers, deer and rabbits, and there’s a helpful mammal ID guide to help in case you see something rarer, like a polecat or a pine marten.

David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES said: “No-one likes seeing roadkill, but recording it as part of a survey like Mammals on Roads tells us about wildlife more widely. Comparing records year to year enables us to build a picture of how a population is changing, which is key to conservation. Without the help of volunteers, it’s almost impossible to identify these sorts of changes nationally and to spot population trends.”

To take part, download the free Mammals on Roads app. Alternatively, the survey can be completed via a printed survey pack. Email mor@ptes.org or call 0207 498 4533 to request a pack to be sent to you.

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Image: Getty