Welcome to the Birmingham and Black Country Mammal Society! This society was originally formed in 2017 by Sammy Mason following a project looking at otters in the Birmingham Canal System. The committee was reformed in 2019 with Alastair Hughes-Roden as chair. Although perhaps not a place known for its wildlife, Birmingham and the Black Country is home to many of the United Kingdoms best known and lesser-known mammals including the Eurasian otter, shrews, stoats, weasels and deer. This group aims to give people of all ages over Birmingham and the Black Country, the opportunity to learn, see, research, and conserve the mammals of this county.
What do we do? We hold regular events all over the county in order to survey and record what mammals are out there, and also help to conserve them. We also encourage our members to undertake their own mammal surveys and find out what is right on their doorstep! As well as this we aid students or individuals who wish to take on small projects focusing on any of the mammals present in Birmingham and the Black Country – the results from these projects hugely help with the long term survival of UK mammal species! Finally don’t forget to check out our ‘focus mammal’ which we have chosen to focus on for a period of six months in order to build a complete picture about this mammals abundance and distribution in the area!
Meet the Committee:
Chair – Alastair Hughes-Roden
Treasurer – Billie Crampton
Secretary – Tasha Cain
Events Co-ordinators – Emma Niemczyk and Kathryn Jones
Social media Co-ordinators – Hannah Karim and Sharna Proctor
Here at the Birmingham and Black Country Mammal Society, we have a number of aims, below a few of these aims are described to get a picture of what this society is about.
1). Provide a more complete picture of mammal distribution and abundance in Birmingham and the Black Country.
There was a Birmingham and Black Country Mammal Atlas produced in 2003, providing a great insight into the mammals of Birmingham, however now almost 15 years on we believe it is time to update this Atlas, for which I am sure the results will now be quite different! Despite being heavily urbanised Birmingham and the Black Country still has some great places which inhabit mammals and even remains a stronghold for some endangered species like the water vole. However, a lack of focused surveys or measurable biodiversity indicators means we know very little about mammals which are right on our doorstep.
2). Aid students and individuals in the completion of projects about the ecology, behaviour or conservation of Birmingham mammals.
This group was born out of one of these projects, looking at what influences otter activity on Birmingham Canals. In order for a sustainable future for UK mammals we need to look at not only where they are found, but why are found there, and how effective different conservation techniques could be in helping them. When I started out on my masters project looking at otters it was exceptionally hard work to get the whole thing set up from scratch, and I could never have achieved what I did without the Canal and River Trust and all the volunteers that helped me. I want this group to help the thousands of enthusiastic students but also individuals across the county so they too can get the chance to complete such vital projects.
3). Educate more people about UK mammals, including how to spot them, survey them and help them.
A key part to the conservation of any species worldwide is education education education! It is crucial to educate people of all ages on the importance of the wildlife around them and how they can help conserve it for future generations. Especially in Birmingham people often don’t realise just how much wildlife can be found in their local area (I can’t count the number of times that people have said to me “There are otters in canals?!?”), well this group aims to change that!