The Mammalwatching Survey: Thank you

Dear all

Many thanks to the hundreds of people who took the time to complete the mammalwatching survey we ran back in February.

We have the initial results now and will be looking carefully at them over the coming months.

We have a lot of data to look at and different questions will be useful over the coming months and years, starting almost straight away as we make plans to refresh the website. Carly  Sponarski – who very generously and extremely patiently managed the whole survey – will be crunching the numbers in more detail when she has some time. But I wanted to share with you a quick summary now.

We had over 250 surveys returned (so thank you all).

It is useful to have data on how people use the site and how often, as well as where you all are from. Survey takers were 90% men (not really a surprise but there is work to be done here!), about half from Europe, a third from North America and over 10% from Australia, which is punching above its weight in per capita mammalwatchers.

I was impressed at how many countries you are planning to visit for your next trips (I don’t know the precise number but most of the world seems to be on that list from a first scan). I was also surprised – though on reflection I am not sure why – at how many biologists, ecologists and conservation people use the site. It makes sense of course, and I also assume that many of you are mammalwatchers as well as mammalworkers.

But most of all I was very pleasantly surprised and happy at how much support there is  for the site and how useful it is.  There were a ton of suggestions on how we can improve it. These are super useful and  we will be implementing at least some of them soon.These include things  we have been aware of, like making it easier for people to upload their own reports; improving the search functionality; and offering people a chance to get a weekly summary of new postings rather than in real time.

There were also lots of great ideas that were new to us: making the site a bit less “Jon-centric” by putting the most recent trip reports at the top of the page; helping ensure that new comments (not just new posts) are visible; being able to see how many people have viewed a report; or ensuring that every trip report includes the author’s name and a way to contact them. All of these and many others are possible and  should be done.

We are not going to be able to act on everything and cannot please everyone, but I hope over the next few months there will be improvements to the site that pretty much everyone will approve of.

More on this later. In the meantime, thank you again and I hope the mammals are coming thick and fast this year.

Jon, with Charles, Mac and Carly


  • Miles Foster

    Thanks for the update, Jon, I look forward to developments.

  • Manul

    Thank you all for the work and the update, I’m looking forward to see what’s going to change.

    PS: When I filled out the questionnaire I had to laugh a bit at the “anonymity” because I am a woman who is not a biologist. My suspicions were confirmed 🙂

    • Jon Hall

      Thanks. Though In fact I don’t see the individual responses just the summary of answers to each question. So your anonymity is intact!!

  • Gary W Wilson

    Thanks for the update – we all appreciate the teams hard work.

    You are correct in your surmise that many mammal researchers are also mammal watchers, and that the site is becoming increasingly useful in planning pied trips (and holidays). Those of us who are also avid eBirders are also delighted by the rise of – all the more reason for getting out there and keeping records and taking even more photos.

  • Robert (Bob) Berghaier

    In February I was in Ecuador. There I saw 2 Andean bears.
    In April in Costa Rica. There I saw 17 different mammals and heard 4 coyotes
    In July I will be in Churchill Manitoba.
    In August I will be in Kenya.
    In November I will be in Chile in the Patagonia area.

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