How gardeners can help wildlife through summer and beyond

It’s not just humans who have endured the sweltering temperatures of the past few weeks. Wildlife, including hedgehogs, hares, bats and badgers, may well be struggling with harsh conditions this summer, according to a wildlife charity.

Yet the impact of climate change on wildlife numbers is barely known, according to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). In August, he invites people to take part in wildlife surveys both in their gardens and outdoors during the summer holidays, while offering practical ways to help a variety of species.

“Recording wildlife day-to-day and year-to-year is key to conservation,” says David Wembridge, PTES’ mammal studies coordinator. “Without this knowledge, we don’t know what’s going on and we can’t take action to save wildlife.”

PTES is looking for volunteers across the UK to take part in its two annual wildlife surveys: Living with Mammals (ptes.org/lwm) and Mammals on Roads (ptes.org/get-involved/surveys/road) which are starting August 1st. and works all year round.

For Living with Mammals, volunteers are encouraged to record sightings of any wild mammals (or signs they leave behind, such as footprints or droppings) in a garden or local green space such as a park or housing estate, by submitting weekly registrations online.

PTES also wants records from further afield to monitor wildlife in our countryside, as this is where some of the biggest declines are being seen. With this in mind, people are invited to take part in the Mammals on Roads charity survey, by downloading the free app of the same name and recording all road journeys and sightings of road casualties spotted in along the way, whether from your car, motorhome or on the way to work.

“No one likes to see road kills, but by counting kills we can spot how populations are changing and, importantly, where conservation action is needed. Recording road kills and the wildlife you see in your garden gives us a better understanding of our wild neighbors and helps protect the species that need it most,” says Wembridge.

Findings from Living with Mammals form 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 outlook for urban hedgehogs than previously believed. previously thought and that numbers in urban areas could begin to recover after a decade of decline.

Information like this is based on long-standing citizen science projects like Living with Mammals and is essential for conservation, the charity says.

Over the 20 years of the survey’s existence, data has also shown an increase in the number of muntjacs recorded, while a decrease in the number of bats and rabbits has been noted. The number of foxes and gray squirrels has changed little.

(Alamy/AP)

“Understanding how wild populations, like those of urban hedgehogs, evolve is so important and without the help of people to record the species around them, we cannot begin to conserve and protect the natural world,” he adds. -he.

There are other garden-based ways anyone can help wildlife for the rest of this summer, too, advises PTES.

1. Provide a shallow water dish, which will benefit land mammals like hedgehogs and foxes, but also birds, butterflies and other insects.

2. Make sure there are shaded areas to provide some respite from the sun on hot days

3. Create a ‘hedgehog highway’ – a 13cm x 13cm square space (the size of a CD case) at the base of your fence or wall, connecting your garden to your neighbour’s plot.

4. If you have a pond, make sure there is a ramp so that any wildlife that enters can safely exit.

5. Create log piles for invertebrates like stag beetles.

To participate in Living with Mammals 2022 (and find out how to identify different mammals, from pine martens to polecats), go to: ptes.org/lwm.

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

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