As another winter approaches, Cornwall Wildlife Trust has turned its attention to helping the wild mammals of woodlands, farmland, open moors, heaths and gardens. .
To carry out this vital work the Trust has launched the “Protecting Cornwall’s Mammals Appeal” and hopes to raise £16,000 to fund the work.
Daniel Eva, Trustee at Cornwall Wildlife Trust says,
“Cornwall is a great place for mammals. We are lucky enough to have good populations of some rare species like the hazel dormouse, the barbastelle, and greater horseshoe bat. However, they continue to suffer from habitat loss, habitat changes due to lack of management and increasing urban development causing habitat fragmentation. With your help, we can better understand the threats they are facing and help to reconnect the places they live.”
With the aim of benefiting all our native mammals, the Trust’s ‘Protecting Cornwall’s Mammals Appeal’ is focusing on five species. With your help, the following vital conservation work can be carried out.
Following severe declines in hedgehog populations, with one-third lost since 2000 and few than one million left in the UK, the Trust is helping to coordinate Operation Hedgehog, a Cornwall-wide initiative to raise awareness about how everyone can come to their aid. This work needs to be expanded over the next six months, working with partners like the Cornwall Mammal Group to inspire people to take positive action.
As well as habitat loss, mild winters can cause dormice to wake from hibernation and suffer starvation. The Trust needs to make monthly dormouse box checks at Helman Tor and Redlake Cottage Meadows Nature Reserves from April to October, to assess populations in these potential strongholds. There is also planned provision for 80 new dormouse boxes at Cabilla and Redrice Woods Nature and 20 at Lower Lewdon Nature Reserve.
Conservation measures over the past two decades have helped stabilise the declining bat population. Cornwall is a stronghold for a wide variety of bats including rare species. Following the Trust’s greater horseshoe bat habitat restoration work at Prideaux Woods Nature Reserve, work needs to take place to restore and protect broadleaved woodland at three other reserves, providing more homes and feeding grounds for these vulnerable insectivores.
The future of Cornwall’s badger population is far from clear. The Trust advocates badger vaccination against bovine TB and needs to survey badgers on its nature reserves to estimate numbers and calculate cost requirements of vaccination across their land holdings. Once this preparatory has been completed, fundraising can potentially begin in order to run a prospective badger vaccination project.
Studies by the Trust and partner Universities are determining whether Eurasian beavers ease flooding. Funds are required to communicate the results of this academic work, as well as plan ground-breaking research to assess how the quality of Cornwall’s inshore coastal waters might be improved through beavers’ dam building and pond construction
Education and information
With your help, the appeal will fund seven exciting autumn/winter family mammal events in 2017 and 2018 to inspire and engage the interest of children and families throughout Cornwall.
The Trust’s Wildlife Information Service (WIS), also needs to complement their existing mammal factsheets with new material covering polecats/polecat ferrets, water voles, otters, dormice and beavers.
To donate to Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s ‘Protecting Cornwall’s Mammals Appeal’ visit www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/appeal, call (01872) 273939 (credit card donations only) or post a cheque to Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Protecting Cornwall’s Mammals Appeal, Five Acres, Allet, Truro, TR4 9DJ.
You can also donate by simply texting MAML17 followed by £5 or £10 to 70070