Tracking Mammals Partnership


The Tracking Mammals Partnership (TMP) has just published UK Mammals Update 2008, the third annual update of population trends for 35 terrestrial mammals, around 54% of our land mammal fauna.  For the first time we have been able to assess trends for most species over 10-year and 25-year intervals, which provides interesting information on differences in short-term and long-term trends.


Bats continue to do well, with 45% of those monitored (five of 11 species) showing increases, and the rest (six of 11 species) with stable populations, although with only eight years of information the trends are still relatively short-term. For other native species the news is more mixed - mole, stoat, weasel, badger, otter and roe deer are increasing, polecat, fox and red deer are stable after periods of long-term increase, but hedgehog, red squirrel, dormouse and water vole continue to decline. 


Some non-native species have shown very large increases, both long- and short-term, with muntjac populations increasing by over 1,200% in 25 years and nearly 130% in the last 10 years. Grey squirrels have increased by 100% in the last 25 years, with more rapid increases in the last 10 years. Sika deer, fallow deer and common rat have all increased substantially. Rabbit populations have shown a long-term increase of 161%, but have declined in the last 10 years. Mink, a species known to be a problem for water voles, has been steadily declining over the last 25 years, correlated with increasing distribution and abundance of otter populations.


The organisations in the TMP continue to improve species coverage in the UK, with the production of guidelines to monitor red squirrels (JNCC, People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Forestry Commission), developing methods to monitor small mammals (JNCC and The Mammal Society), a new project, funded by PTES, Environment Agency and Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts to collate data on, and map occurrence of, water voles, and a new survey to assess Scottish wildcat distribution run by Scottish Natural Heritage.


The Bat Conservation Trust, which runs the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP), in partnership with JNCC, is using the experience gained to help develop European and international bat monitoring, under the auspices of the European Bats Agreement and with start-up funding from several Member States, as well as the Darwin Initiative-funded iBats project (in partnership with the Zoological Society of London).


The TMP continues to make a substantial contribution towards comprehensive data access through the National Biodiversity Netwrok Gateway, which has mammal data from the National Otter Surveys, the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, the Bat Conservation Trust/Mammals Trust UK car survey, the British Birds Survey and Waterways Breeding Birds Survey, and the NBMP Daubenton’s Waterway Survey. In 2008 data from the other surveys in the NBMP will be made generally available. 


2007 saw the culmination of two major conservation status assessments, the review of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority list of species and habitats, and the EU Habitats Directive conservation status assessments for European protected species and habitats.  Criteria for assessment were different but both processes relied quite heavily on TMP monitoring data to provide evidence on the status of individual mammal species. As a result we now have 18 mammal species on the BAP priority list, and 22 mammals that are listed on the Habitats Directive Annexes and have breeding populations in the UK had full conservation status assessments.


BAP priority mammals


Insectivores/ bats




Hedgehog, greater horseshoe, lesser horseshoe, barbastelle, Bechstein’s, soprano pipistrelle, noctule, brown long-eared bat

Mountain hare, brown hare

Red squirrel, water vole, hazel dormouse, harvest mouse

Scottish wildcat, otter, pine marten, polecat



Habitats Directive Conservation Status Assessments for European Protected Mammals



Unfavourable Inadequate

Unfavourable Bad


Lesser horseshoe, common pipistrelle, Daubenton’s, Natterer’s, brown long-eared bat, otter, pine marten, polecat

Greater horseshoe, Bechstein’s bat, mountain hare

Hazel dormouse, wildcat

Barbastelle, soprano pipistrelle, Brandt’s, whiskered, noctule, Nathusius’ pipistrelle, Leisler’s, grey long-eared, serotine bat



JNCC continues to work in partnership with the 24 other organisations in TMP to provide data from multi-species schemes and continues to provide major support to the partnership through the TMP coordinator role.


For more information see the Tracking Mammals website 


Jessa Battersby

Tracking Mammals Partnership Coordinator

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866808