The recent posts by CEOs on why their organisations deserved public support were very popular so I thought I’d extend the offer to others and here is a blog from the Mammal Society’s CEO Marina Pacheco.
Firstly, why mammals? Because mammals matter! Our elusive, often nocturnal furry cousins are vital to our island ecosystems, on land, in the air and in water, even though this hidden, dispersed nature means they slip from public consciousness. The challenge of playing ‘mammal detective’ to find mammals and their signs in the wild presents a thrill unique to mammals, and brings together a brilliant bunch of people too.
“70 million field voles,” you say, “why should we worry about them?” Well, it’s not all about worrying, but we need to better understand how their numbers rise and fall, as with all mini mammals, because they are such a vital food source for not only our rare mammal carnivores, like the pine marten and wildcat, but for this nation’s much loved birds of prey too. “Even so, it’s all rats, foxes and other vermin here isn’t it?” Not at all! The British Isles is home to half the world’s grey seal population, 30% of Europe’s red deer, and Europe’s only thriving badger population. Our riparian habitats are home to the famously characteristic otters and water voles, our coniferous forests to red squirrels, the Scottish highlands to the rare pine marten, wildcat and beaver, and woodland to the hazel dormouse and deer.
So, why The Mammal Society? For 60 years, we have been a small yet effective charity with a difference.
We are a charity of firsts, bringing together national expertise to make information on mammals accessible to all, to help them learn and discover. We published the first Handbook of British Mammals in 1963, now into its 4th edition, which at 800 pages is still the most definitive book on British mammals available. We also published the first mammal atlas in 1971 and the first Red Data book for mammals in 1993. We ran the first national harvest mouse survey, first badger survey and first water shrew and yellow necked mouse surveys. We now aim to produce the first online interactive and continuously updated national mammal atlas using exciting, innovative technology, from phone apps to camera traps, DNA analysis and footprint tracking tunnels.
However, we will not ask for your money and do it for you. Instead, our community of members and supporters are the powerhouse. Our growing network of over 2000 members are out there, doing the important work for mammal research and conservation, making new discoveries, generating new information, advising conservation and advocating effective policy. We sit more behind the scenes because we work to bring everyone together to network, share ideas, get actively involved in conservation, and learn from each other with each other.
We are not the superhero. Everyone is. Everyone who supports our work and gets involved makes a genuine difference for mammals in the British Isles. Every record submitted to our atlas, every mini mammal survey completed, every member adding their voice, every researcher, consultant and conservation volunteer. What we know about mammals and how we can help them comes from our members and supporters.
When mammals need us, we bring our members together to form the national voice for mammals, to stand up for them in national conservation decisions. We are proud to provide the rational response, to present the facts, and stand by our scientific position to help mammals and wildlife. It’s exciting because together, we are more! We want everyone to get out there having a go, because it’s up to all of us. We want a nation of mammal lovers!
We need your support because mammals are so badly under-funded, under-represented and under-studied. Would the decline of water voles, otters and hedgehogs have been so severe if funding had enabled better, regular monitoring? Quite probably. And there are still so many questions. Are harvest mice in decline? How bad is the decline in hedgehogs? How can we best protect the vulnerable wildcat and red squirrel? Are bats being affected by street lights and wind turbines?
So, please support a charity that aims to answer these questions by bringing society together in support of mammal conservation. As we approach our 60th birthday, together we can look forward to another 60 years at least of discovery, sharing, learning, progress and success for mammals and wildlife conservation.