Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A novel way is developed to sniff out how many harvest mice live in the UK

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has awarded an ecological grant towards an innovative project headed by PhD researcher Emily Howard-Williams at Moulton College in Northamptonshire.

Her team will train Tui, a flat-coated retriever, to learn to detect the scent of harvest mice, making tracking their presence in the countryside easier and more efficient.

The harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) is one of the most elusive and smallest of mammals in Great Britain and finding their tell-tale signs can be a difficult and time-consuming exercise even for the experts.

Consequently it has proved frustratingly difficult to determine an accurate picture of their current numbers in the UK, up to now.

Typically found in cereal fields, reed beds and hedgerows, harvest mice are believed to have declined in the past 40 years as a result of changes to farming practices and habitat management.

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