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Urgent conservation efforts needed for British wildlife, university professor tells BBC Countryfile

An academic from the University of Sussex appeared on BBC Countryfile’s hour-long Wildlife Special to highlight the plight of British wildlife.

Professor Fiona Mathews, Professor of Environmental Biology in the School of Life Sciences, told presenter Ellie Harrison about the findings of the Mammal Society’s recent Population Review Red List.

Professor Mathews said: “The review found that one in five animals of our native species are facing really serious problems. So, for example, we need urgent conservation efforts around hedgehogs, red squirrel, and water vole – these really top-priority species.”

Professor Mathews works on the responses of mammals to modern environmental challenges, and is Chair of the Mammal Society.

It was in this role that she led the review, which was the first for 25 years to look at the conservation and population status of British mammals.

But, she says, it contained significant gaps due to a lack of data.

“There’s a lot of other animals where we really don’t know what’s going on and for those, we need to be filling those evidence gaps really quickly,” Professor Mathews explained.

She told Countryfile that it’s fundamental they get this missing data to be able to make policy changes, advise farmers and landowners and even provide members of the public with valuable information about their gardens.

Moving forward, she’s hoping the public will help provide valuable data. Earlier this summer, the Mammal Society launched the Mammal Mapper app so that nature lovers could record sightings of mammals using just their smartphone.

You can watch the episode again on BBC iPlayer.

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By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2018