Survey updates wildlife data for Jersey

A RECENT survey of Jersey’s small mammals required as part of the Island’s legally binding international environmental agreements has produced mixed findings.

The mammals were surveyed to comply with the Island’s environmental responsibilities. Jersey is a signatory to a number of international agreements and has to monitor its wildlife to understand any changes or threats to populations and to protect them from further loss.

The Department of the Environment last carried out a similar survey 16 years ago and wanted to find out what changes have occurred since then.

Four species were surveyed at 22 sites in nine different habitats across the Island. These were the wood mouse, Jersey bank vole, the lesser white-toothed shrew and Millet’s shrew. The vole is unique to Jersey and the lesser white-toothed shrew is only found in Jersey and the Isle of Wight.

The Jersey vole and two shrew species are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2000 and Jersey is committed through its laws and through the Bern Convention to monitor these species and protect them.

The results showed that the wood mouse and Jersey bank vole are still widespread but there’s less certainty about shrews. The data for shrew species were more difficult to compare across the two surveys due to a low capture rate and a patchy distribution across sites, seasons and years.

Research Ecologist for the Department of the Environment Nina Cornish said, “This survey will support science-led conservation policy and obligations to ensure a future for small mammals in Jersey.

“Small mammals matter because they play a vital role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem in Jersey, as keystone prey species for our large predators including birds of prey and snakes. They are indicators of habitat quality and help shape our environment.”