Mammalwatching paper

Dear All,
I am writing an essay about current and potential importance of amateur mammalwatching for science and conservation; I’ll probably submit it to Conservation Biology. If you can think of any good examples, like Jon’s discovery of Javan palm civet population or the recent documentation of extralimital Altai weasels in Ladakh, please tell 🙂
Anything else that’s relevant will also be appreciated.
Vladimir Dinets


  • morganchurchill

    I know there is small pool of peer-reviewed lit on whale watching…stuff from that might be important to cite.

  • Jurek

    Hi Jon,

    You may also draw attention to contrasting attitudes towards watching mammals. Spotlighting is encouraged on Australian national parks website, but commonly banned in Asia. Actually, several mammalwatching localities (and their possible eco-tourism benefit to conservation) were killed because watching mammals was banned.

    • vdinets

      Yes, I’m going to talk about the spread of obligatory guides plague (reportedly they now require guides even in Corcovado), the South African “safety” extortion scheme, etc. If you have any details, please email me to dinets at gmail.

  • vdinets

    Yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Could you please email me the details of your upcoming paper? My address is dinets at gmail.

  • PandaSmith

    We tend to get a lot of interesting stuff. The still-debated Side-striped Jackal from Ethiopia that caused some debate and some field research action was a good example. And we were the first to document Arunachal macaques as far south as Kaziranga NP…. We confirmed with more images Jon’s civet in Java….Spotted and photographed the first Sumatran Serow in Khao Sam Roi Yot seen in over five years, on a mountain range they were thought to be extinct….There are probably more…. Just let me know if these are good for your work and we’ll get some more details.

  • Jon Hall

    Hi Vladimir, this will be an interesting paper. I will try to send you a few examples of species I have bumped into that caused some interest, as well as examples where mammal watching has had an indirect benefit by funding research etc, What’s your deadline? cheers Jon

  • Farnborough John

    In the UK there is a long tradition of amateur naturalists contributing to science and in the mammal area things like the Living with Mammals survey, various roadkill surveys and PTES’s Great Nut Hunt (which identified Dormouse, Wood Mouse (Apodemus spp) Bank Vole and Squirrel presence from hazel nut chew patterns have all been good examples of getting a lot of data from even fairly untrained people quickly and over wide areas.

    • vdinets

      I had no idea, thanks!

      • Mike Richardson

        In addition to what John has already said, the PTES organise wildlife encounters where the public pay to accompany scientists on dormouse/bat box checks/mammal surveys. The money raised goes directly to conservation. In recent years some great events (mostly concerned with the rarer UK bats) have mostly been booked up by mammal watchers (as opposed to the general public).

        Despite the popularity of the more specialist events, the PTES events team seem to be hosting more and more events aimed at families and not hard core mammal watchers. Bats and small mammal trapping has been replaced by photography weekends and hedgehog safaris.

  • Ry

    Hi Vladimir,

    I think it’s worth looking at this link for the work observing Australian Numbats in the Dryandra reserve.

    Many of the observations are recorded here but they drive the tracks a lot and record all sightings. They call themselves the numbat task force.

    Cheers Ry

  • Jon Hall

    Beyond this there are – or at least used to be – expeditions organised by CALM (the West Australian Parks and Wildlife service) which not only made use of volunteer labour but the fees the volunteers paid were enough to cover the costs of all the fieldwork. In other words the LandScope trips were self financing and ensured research and conservation work was done that would not have been affordable otherwise.

  • Simon Feys

    In Belgium we have the website where everyone can enter records of all sorts of species (animals and plants), this leads i.e. to nice distribution maps for many species. Related with this there have been projects monitoring roadkill, a project on animals caught by domestic cats, … If you want more details on anything of this, feel free to contact me.


  • vnsankar123

    I recall reading a Birdtour Asia trip report from Sumatra where they photographed/observed the first Indonesian Mountain Weasel in decades. I guess close enough to mammalwatching…

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