A Mammal Watching Master List

A few weeks ago we discussed the idea of drawing up a global list of mammals that people could use as a basis for a life list. See the discussion here. Thank you everyone for the comments and general support for the idea.

I’ve now drawn up a Master List of 5,500 tickable mammal species. As a reminder, this list is based on the IUCN Red List but also includes a few additional species which I believe ought also to be included (most eventually will be I suspect). It also includes a bunch of domesticated species that live feral in parts of the world (and it was the discussion of feral species that generated most comment – more on this in a moment).

As a reminder

1. This list is not – and never will be – perfect and is a work in progress. Please send suggestions to me for changes. I will aim to update it every 6 months.

2. Though the very idea of a “species” is somewhat arbitrary, some of us like to record the total number of species we have seen. This list can provide a common yardstick. But a list is essentially a personal thing, and so ultimately we should all decide on what – or what not – to include on our own lists. I hope this Master List might be at least be a useful starting point.

3. There are various global mammal lists and the IUCN’s Red List, while not perfect, is authoritative and updated regularly. But remember it is produced for assessing conservation status not for mammal watching. The differences between it and this Master List reflect a mammal watching bias (as well as my own prejudice at times).

4. Whether, when and where we choose to tick feral domesticated species is a personal thing. Vladimir Dinets’s note and subsequent discussion was helpful on this. Though one can argue that domestic pigs,cats and donkeys are essentially (genetically) the same as Wild Boar, European Wild Cats or Somali Asses, they occupy for me a different place in the mammal watching set of experiences. And so for this reason, as much as any other, I think they should be listed separately. It seems to me that whether or not you might choose to tick a wild donkey living in the US or Australia, it is not the same – from a mammal watching point of view – as seeing as Somali Wild Ass. Of course if you disagree then simply don’t tick off the feral Donkey at all.

I have listed all these divergences from the IUCN’s list on the other worksheet in the XLS file below. I have also listed a few species that Duff & Lawson included as separate but which I have dropped following the IUCN. This is a very partial list and just reflects the species that I have seen myself. I don’t have time to go through all 5,500 species to do more of this right now. But if someone does then that would be great!

The master list is here. Please make comments below or send suggestions to me. I will update in the middle of next year: A Global Mammal Watching List.

cheers and happy new year

Jon Hall


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