Hazel dormice are a rare, and declining species in Britain. Until now, there has been no systematic survey of hazel dormice in Britain. The National Dormouse Footprint Tunnel Survey is based on using footprint tunnels to detect to the presence of dormice in hedgerows. The condition of the hedgerow will be assessed using the Great British Hedgerow Survey.
A new method using footprint tunnels has recently been developed where associated probability scores to detect dormice using varying levels of survey effort have been calculated. These probability scores are habitat-dependent. It is both easier to identify a hedgerow, rather than some other habitats and easier to detect dormice using them. The National Dormouse Footprint Tunnel Survey will be based on a search for dormice in hedgerows rather than any other habitat. Footprint tunnels are relatively easy to use and can be used by people who do not have a dormouse license as the likelihood of encountering the animals in a tunnel is rare.
The Great British Hedgerow survey is the standard hedge survey in Britain and will give information on hedge conditions and provide management advice. A dormouse survey undertaken in conjunction with a hedge survey will give an indication of dormouse occupancy of hedge type or dormouse absence from hedge type. People’s Trust for Endangered Species may be able to supply kits to survey for dormice both within and at the edge of their current range. It is hoped that these kits will continue to be used in future years to survey different hedgerows for dormice.
Ian White, Dormouse Officer for Peoples Trust for Endangered Species