Mammals in the British Isles are surprisingly under-recorded. We need to find out more about their whereabouts and numbers, and you can help us by downloading this free app.
Source: Mammal Tracker
Language: English (for a correct operation you must change the language of your device if it is different of English)
Runs offline: partially
Last update: Android 06/05/2016 – iOS 06/05/2016
Notes: article updated on 23/05/2016
Mammal Tracker is a web app and an application for mobile devices that facilitates the inventory of mammals in the British Isles, with the exception of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which have their own apps. The purpose of this information is to implement conservation strategies based on data such as location or number of specimens.
To be able to collaborate, you have to open an account with an email address and password. The sightings are recorded through a form where you must complete at least the fields considered as required, that they are marked by an asterisk (*):
- Number of specimens
- Observation (auditory, visual, dead specimen in a road, died in other circumstances, signs, other)
- Habitat (grassland, garden, crop, etc.)
The form also provides the possibility to complete other aspects, like photographs, site name or annotations. For sending the registered information it is necessary to have an internet connection.
Each form allows to access to a data sheet that facilitates the id of the mammal, providing information on its distribution, description, diet, images or confusion species. The search of the animal can be done through the name or using filters like type (rodents, carnivores, etc.) or size. The own sightings are available from the “My sightings” option.
The sightings collected can be found on the website, represented in a map, although it is not possible to consult the data sheet.
It should be noted that when you start the application, you are prompted to select your level of knowledge (you can change it later from the “Settings” tab). It has not been found the explanation of this requirement, although possibly it is related with the accuracy of observations.
A recent update has added the possibility of register bats and individuals of wild cat (these data is shared with the Scottish Wildcat Action). It has also added a legend to the distribution maps.
Images: Screenshots 26/10/2015. ©University of Bristol
Many associations and groups of UK use this application to carry out initiatives related to citizen science, enabling data collection. To take an example, the project to record the evolution of the population of rabbits and hares promoted by The Mammal Society, since a decline of specimens due to diseases has been detected.
Mammal Tracker is an application easy to use, fairly well documented from a visual point of view and in which it should be noted the work done to differentiate the species, with texts over the photographs that stand out the main distinguishing features. However, the application draws attention in a negative way because does not differentiate between native and invasive species. For example, the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), native of Great Britain and whose populations have experienced in recent years a remarkable setback, is treated in the same way that its main competitor, the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), a introduced species which has become a threat to his native relative. It would also be interesting for each species to include information about their protected status.