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We meet some of the Mammal Society Team

Logo: The Mammal Society

the final article from our featured charity, The Mammal Society

As we get close to the end of the year we thought it might make a change to put the spotlight on a few members of the Mammal Society team.

Throughout the pandemic we have all been working from home and, like anyone who enjoys being part of a team, we are all really looking forward to being able to meet up in person again soon.

Frazer Coomber next to a tree with a camera trap on it (The Mammal Society)
Frazer Coomber (The Mammal Society)

Frazer Coomber is our Science Officer. 

Frazer joined the Mammal Society in February 2018 as a post-doctoral research officer. He completed his PhD at the University of Genoa where he studied the impact of shipping traffic on Cuvier’s beaked whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Frazer is passionate about all mammals and is interested in the effect of human disturbance on their ecology.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Mammal Society team? What I most enjoy most is the knowledge that the work I conduct is actively used to provide robust evidence towards promoting the conservation of the species I know and love. It's great to know that the things I do can be used to make a difference!

Favourite British mammal? This is a hard question to answer! I have always loved whales and dolphins and I might have to go for Risso’s or white beaked dolphins!

What one thing could people do to help protect Britain's mammals? There are many things that people could do to help British wildlife but from my perspective we can’t protect what we don’t know, so reporting animal sightings I consider important. These records help us and others to understand where animals are, how many there are and how these metrics change.

What piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to work in mammal conservation? I would recommend getting involved with as many projects and surveys as possible, building up an experience base through volunteer and work placements provides valuable skills and connections. Failing that, study maths and get into programming!

Favourite meal of the day? I love a good roast dinner with all the vegetable trimmings, prawn cocktail starter with a banoffee pie to finish!

Beth Smith joined Mammal Society in October 2018 as Data & Information Officer. 

Beth Smith in a snow covered wood (The Mammal Society)
Beth Smith (The Mammal Society)

She left the role last year to pursue a PhD at Nottingham Trent University, but is still sticking by us as our Student Representative. In this role Beth is coordinating the University Mammal Challenge (UMAC) and organising the Mammal Society Student Conference.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Mammal Society team? Typical reasons such as working with kind, like-minded individuals and helping to conserve Britain's mammals all spring to mind, but for me, as Student Representative, it's the satisfaction of helping students like myself to get involved with mammal conservation and to give hard-working students a platform to show off their research and get noticed.

What is your favourite British mammal? Honestly, I can't choose between the red fox and harvest mouse. Every time I see a harvest mouse it just blows my mind how tiny yet cool they are with their prehensile tails, but then I will never not be excited at spotting a tenth urban fox when walking home from the pub in London!

What one thing could people do to help protect Britain's mammals? This is one that people don't tend to think of straight away and for a lot of people it really is something that's within their control so I'm going to say "drive less". Also, slow down when you are driving and, especially at night, be vigilant and pay attention to the road verges. I know not everyone can just stop using their car but where there's an option to walk or cycle, why not take it once in a while? You'll also get some fresh air and some exercise whilst reducing the number of road-killed animals every year. We all know it's better for the environment too, so a bit of an all-rounder really!

What piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to work in mammal conservation? If you're at the early stages then just get as much experience as possible. Look up local Mammal Groups, wildlife groups or even ecological consultancies, reach out to local universities or colleges that might have research you could get involved in, join in with Mammal Society projects and competitions. The more people you help and network with, the more likely you are to hear of opportunities and be offered roles in mammal conservation.

Favourite meal of the day? Finally, an easy question! Definitely breakfast, I always wake up really hungry and find it so satisfying to mooch around the kitchen and decide if I'm in the mood for a big bowl of cereal, some hearty porridge, scrambled eggs or a croissant. I guess I'm a bit of a generalist in that sense, like an urban fox looking for an easy meal! So on that basis, my ideal breakfast is weather, mood and activity-dependent. If it's a cold morning and I've got lots to do that day then I'll be opting for a big bowl of porridge with some honey and fruit.

Charlie Le Marquand in the forefront with valley landscape behind (The Mammal Society)
Charlie Le Marquand (The Mammal Society)

Charlie Le Marquand is the Mammal Society’s Data and Information Officer. 

After completing her BSc in Zoology at Swansea University, Charlie gained an MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation from Imperial College London and joined the Mammal Society as data and information officer in October 2019. Her research has included investigating the distribution of hedgehogs on the island of Guernsey using footprint tunnels and citizen science, looking at habitat usage of foxes in urban parks using camera traps and modelling how urbanisation as a land-use change affects local biodiversity.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Mammal Society team? It's difficult to pick a top reason! Getting to work and communicate with so many people who are also passionate about Britain's mammals is high up there. I also really enjoy the learning aspect, between information from our experts and the interesting questions we get in from supporters I learn more and more about our mammals every day.

Favourite British mammal? It's hard to single one out and it's very close but the one that comes top for me is the red fox. I didn't see one in person until I was 20 because in Guernsey, where I grew up, we don't have them. I saw my first fox on a very wet, dark, night in Swansea when a photographer friend took me out with him and I was so excited when one trotted out of the darkness. Since then I've seen a few more and it still takes my breath away when I see one wandering the streets of Brighton.

What one thing could people do to help protect Britain's mammals? I would say, make any space you have control of as wildlife friendly as you can. Whether it's a garden, a driveway or a balcony there are some really cool ideas out there for things you can do to make even small spaces attractive to wildlife. A lot of threatened mammals are suffering from loss of habitat, as are other groups of animals and just think of how much space we take up in housing across the UK. Things like mowing less, leaving wood and leaf piles and having a small pond can really help both the mammals themselves and also their food sources. We have some more suggestions from some of our mammal experts on our YouTube Channel here

What piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to work in mammal conservation? Be proactive. Get involved with groups in your area and volunteer as much as you can. There are so many local experts out there and working with organisations in your area, such as one of our Local Mammal Groups is a great way to meet and learn from them, while supporting your area's mammals at the same time.

Favourite meal? Dinner would be my favourite. Breakfast and lunch everyone is doing different things but I like that dinner time is the meal when everyone tends to sit down at the same time, whether at home with family, or away living with friends. Then you can have a good chat about your days and talk about the movie you're all going to watch or the boardgame you'll play together after you're done! I'm probably not so bothered by the actual food as long as it tastes good!

During the lockdown(s) most of the team have been able to get out and use our Mammal Mapper app more often. It is a great way of recording what we see when we’re traipsing around the countryside and has been really useful to be able to compare notes on what we’ve spotted in different areas of Britain. If you’d like to get involved in recording mammals why not download the Mammal Mapper app today. To find out more visit our website at www.mammal.org.

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