As spring approaches, wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling for volunteers to take part in it's annual Living with Mammals survey. Last year the top five mammals recorded were (in order): grey squirrels, foxes, mice, hedgehogs and bats. From April, PTES is asking members of the public to record sightings of these ‘big five’, plus any other mammals they see, to aid future conservation efforts.

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image: PTES

Volunteers can take part from any chosen survey site. This can be in an urban, suburban or rural location, so long as the area is within 200 metres of a building. The survey runs between Monday 1 April and Sunday 30 June. Those that take part are asked to report the mammals they see, or their signs, in any local green space – from gardens and allotments to parks or green spaces near to work - during this time period.

David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES said: “Green spaces, and the wildlife they support, are important - they provide food, clean air and water, and make us healthier and happier. Counting our wild neighbours, and knowing how their populations are changing, is a health-check on our towns and cities.”

Volunteers can spend anything from ten minutes to several hours a week at their chosen site and can take part either individually or as part of a group.

David added: “As the weather warms up, we hope people will get out and see lots of wildlife - and the signs they leave behind, such as footprints or droppings.

"Your chance of spotting particular species depends on where you are in the UK. In Scotland, for example, is a stronghold for pine martens and red squirrels, and PTES is particularly keen to collects records from there and from northern regions of England.

“Long-term surveys such as Living with Mammals offer invaluable data to conservationists working to save Britain’s wildlife, with the help of the public. The results allow us to understand how populations of each species are changing – for better or worse. "This lets us identify where conservation work is needed most. For example, surveys have shown that at least half of the hedgehog population has been lost from the countryside in the last two decades. As a result, we’ve been working really hard to help hedgehogs in the urban landscape and we’re now starting to see a more positive outlook".

Volunteers are asked to record their findings online here