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Zoology Article - Autumn Newsletter (2015)

In March 2015, the Executive Committee approved the new Chairman of the Societe Jersiaise Zoology Section, Ian Cox.  The Section has spent the beginning of this year assisting Ian in getting up to speed with projects and research that they are involved in.  Ian, a qualified vet graduating from Bristol Vet School in 1999, moved to Jersey to join the New Era Veterinary Hospital.  He obtained post-graduate qualifications from the European Society of Practicing Veterinary Surgeons in small animal medicine, increasing the range of services offered locally.  Ian is also responsible for working with reptiles, birds, local wildlife and other exotics and aims to continue the excellent work of his predecessor the late Hugh Forshaw.

The Section was recently involved in a project assisting the Department of the Environment to carry out a survey of small mammals in Jersey.  The survey was a detailed assessment of the changes that have occurred in population densities since an initial small mammal survey carried out in 1998.  Survey work was carried out on 22 sites in 9 different habitats across the Island, 4 species were suveyed:

  • Wood mouse.
  • Jersey bank vole.
  • Lesser white-toothed shrew.
  • Millet's shrew.

The survey determined population numbers, densities and biomass over different seasons and habitats, with the aim of finding out more about the changes that have occurred over the 16 year period.  The vole and the two shrew species are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2000 and Jersey is committed through its legislation and international conventions to monitor and protect them.  Small mammals matter because they play a vital role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem in Jersey, a keystone prey species for our large predators including birds of prey and snakes.  They are indicators of habitat quality and help shape our environment.

The report was published recently and results indicate that since 1998 wood mice have continued to be widespread; the Jersey bank vole has followed a similar pattern but appeared to favour heathlands, hedgerows, woodlands and undisturbed grasslands.  The data for shrew species was more difficult to compare across the two surveys due to a low capture rate and a patchy distribution across sites, seasons and years.  Further work is required to determine what could be affecting the shrews' distribution and population numbers in Jersey.

If you would like to find out more about the survey please use this link to find out more and to download the full report:  http://www.gov.je/Government/Pages/StatesReports.aspx?ReportID=1536

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