Rare Mammal Survey North Wales

An Environment project Rhuddlan, United Kingdom

Rare Mammal Survey North Wales

There is still a lot we don't know about the wildlife of North Wales and this project aims to find some of the answers during 2016-2017.

Some species which weren't known to occur in our area, such as the Serotine Bat, are now known to have been here for some time, but unrecorded. Other species still have uncertain status in the area.

Pine Martens are known to have been in North Wales up to at least 25 years ago, but more recent surveys have led some to declare them extinct in the area. We believe that with our survey methodology we should be able to find them if they're still here (and there's no real reason to suppose they're not).

With the current reintroductions of Pine Martens in Mid Wales, where there is still a remnant population, it's important to establish their status further north. Our methodology will use a combination of survey methods run simultaneously across specific target areas to hopefully confirm their continued presence.

Barbastelle and Bechstein's Bats are also species which, like the Serotine Bat, may be present but unrecorded. There are already some volunteers who are surveying woodlands for these bats but with the large number of woodlands and few volunteers with suitable recording equipment, it is felt that a more systematic approach is necessary to determine if these two species of bat are to be found in North Wales and to do so during the 2016 bat survey season.

Another species which may simply be unrecorded is the Yellow-necked Mouse (closely related to the Wood Mouse, but larger) and with one unconfirmed sighting, the Project aims to help with further surveys in that area. Should the species be confirmed, survey efforts will be expanded to cover other areas, if funding permits.

The Project needs to buy various items including nesting boxes, camera traps, ultrasonic recorders, feeding stations & bait, as well as cover the costs of deployment and monitoring. Specialist software will be used to analyse the large amounts of data that will be generated from the ultrasonic recorders.

The equipment we'll need to do the surveys most efficiently will be as follows:

10 pine marten nesting boxes at £100 each = £1000

10 pine marten feeding hoppers at £10 each = £100

10 pine marten trail cameras at £150 each = £1500

Bait for pine martens at £35 per 25kg sack

5 ultrasonic bat recorders for long deployments at £1000 each = £5000

5 small mammal camera traps at £200 each = £1000

5 small mammal baiting stations at £25 each = £125

Bait for small mammals

Mileage and miscellaneous expenses for site visits, bait replenishment (weekly), equipment replacement, etc. for 2016 - 2017 survey season.

Assuming we manage to raise the full amount needed, survey efforts will be focussed on the areas and habitats deemed most likely to have the target species present, based on previous records (if available) and habitat suitability. As many of these locations will be surveyed as possible and the surveys will continue while funding allows. It is hoped that we can raise enough money to fund the Project into 2017.

During the course of the Project, we also expect to record other species of wildlife, which may expand our knowledge of their populations and range. We're especially interested in the possibility of finding Red Squirrels and Dormice outside their known range, as well as Muntjac Deer.

The Project will be run by Martin Bailey of Wildlife & Countryside Services, who is the Mammal Recorder for Denbighshire and a practising Ecologist, as well as a long-time resident of North Wales. All records will be shared with Cofnod, the local biological records centre, as well as the Clwyd Bat Group, Gwynedd Bat Group, Red Squirrels Trust WalesNorth Wales Mammal Group, North Wales Wildlife Trust, Vincent Wildlife Trust and all Backers.

Backers will be kept up to date with the progress of the Project and can become more involved if they wish.