It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I opened my latest book purchase, ‘Britain’s Mammals 2018: The Mammal Society’s Guide to their Population and Conservation Status. This latest publication by the well-established organisation was published alongside much fanfare regarding the success and failures of our mammal species. National news picked up on the headline facts that one in five British mammals are at high risk of extinction and it is the findings of the review that this book is based on.
As one would expect from the Mammal Society the publication is well presented and illustrated with first-rate photographs of all the species. There is a breakdown of key findings in the first few pages before each species, in turn, is assessed. There is also a very interesting section on future priorities that should help guide and focus conservation efforts in the future. As someone interested the practical application of ecological theory and data this section alone is worth the reasonable cover price.
In the species accounts, each species’ IUCN status is listed and its population calculated with upper and lower limit estimates where possible. Past and future trends for the species as well as indications of changes to its range are also accounted. There is a written description of the fortunes of the species between 1995 and 2008 and details of the key threats. There is some information on habitat preference and this may seem scarce at first but there are many other publications which cover the specific ecology of these species and this is definitely not the thrust of the publication.
This publication is a status update and it does exactly what it does on the tin. Information is presented concisely and colourfully. One can be confident in the credibility of the data and appendices deal with the methodology. This is a must buy for any mammal enthusiast and the only negative thing to say is that it almost seems too colourful and well presented to contain such depressing news on the state of our mammals.
The publication is available from the NHBS priced £17.99.