Channel 4's popular programme Foxes Live - Wild in the City is raising awareness of the wildlife living under our noses. Wherever you live, wildlife will move in alongside, unbothered by definitions of 'built' or 'natural' landscapes, but many accounts of urban wildlife only give passing mention to mammals.
Over twenty species of mammals make use of the green spaces and the brick and timber habitats of our towns and cities – from bats and wood mice, to muntjac and badgers – and, when we take the time to look, it can be surprising who we find our wild neighbours to be. David Wembridge of the People's Trust for Endangered Species has compiled this introduction to the mammals we can see without even venturing out of the garden.
"With fewer species to cover than in Britain's Mammals there is more space to include field signs in this volume and, for example, the sonogram of the echolocation of a common pipistrelle is well illustrated. The addition of such field signs throughout is most helpful. I would only disagree with the comment that roe deer and muntjac droppings are difficult to tell apart: the dip in the side ofthe smaller latter pellets (as shown in the picture) are not found in roe and the roe hoof prints are distinctly larger and narrower in shape.
David introduces us to what he defines as the ‘built environment’ and the progress [of] the People’s Trust for Endangered Species [in] surveying the animals present. As well as gardens friendly to wildlife David emphasises the importance of green spaces and describes the urban patchwork of allotments, cemeteries and brownfield sites where mammals can survive. Distribution maps are included which show the change in status of many: since badgers were first protected in 1973 they have re-established themselves across most of Britain and are widely photographed coming to feeding sites in gardens, soon oblivious to any automatic lighting that might come on with their arrival.
There is a colour guide to taxonomy and other useful information at the end. I recommend membership of the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and this latest Whittet volume gives full details"
- Michael Clark, Country-Side, Spring & Summer 2013 issue.