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Harvest Mouse Conservation with the Surrey Wildlife Trust

14 October 2016, Shalford

Harvest Mouse EventEighteen SE Section members attended this workshop led by Jim Jones, Living Landscapes Project Manager for the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT), and Dr Rowenna Baker of Sussex University. The harvest mouse receives no formal legal protection and is therefore perhaps overlooked during ecological surveys, yet it is a Species of Principal Importance under the NERC Act and as such should be considered during EcIAs.

Following a talk on ecology, conservation and survey methods for these elusive mammals, the speakers presented the first results from a novel project using genetic markers to investigate relationships between harvest mouse populations in Surrey. The hope is that this approach can be used as a marker of habitat connectivity, in particular along waterways, providing information to support initiatives to ensure the ability of populations of this and other species to disperse across areas large enough to assure their survival.

The presentation was followed by a field session at a known harvest mouse site near Guildford, where participants had the opportunity to search for the typical grass nests of this species. They were not disappointed, as a record  number of nests was found in the space of less than an hour!

It is hoped that CIEEM SE Section members can be invited along to future SWT harvest mouse trapping surveys, where further hair-pluck samples for DNA analysis will be collected to support the project.

Harvest Mouse Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Rowenna Baker presenting on harvest mouse genetics

 

Harvest Mouse Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attendees searching for harvest mouse nests

 

Harvest Mouse Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the harvest mouse nests found during the meeting

 

Author: Lynn Whitfield MCIEEM, Secretary of SE Section Committee

 

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