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A ma­jor new re­port into the state of our an­i­mals and birdlife paints a gloomy pic­ture for the sur­vival of many species

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Im­me­di­ate ac­tion is needed to pro­tect our wildlife

MORE THAN 50 lead­ing wildlife and re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions be­hind the State of Na­ture 2016 re­port have warned that only im­me­di­ate ac­tion will save the UK’S na­ture. Ex­perts from 53 wildlife or­gan­i­sa­tions have pooled knowl­edge and re­sources to present a pic­ture of the sta­tus of na­tive species, and the re­port, which fol­lows the ground-break­ing State of Na­ture 2013, re­veals that 56% of UK species stud­ied have de­clined since 1970, while more than one in 10 (1,199 species) of the nearly 8,000 species as­sessed are un­der threat of dis­ap­pear­ing from our shores al­to­gether. Although the re­port also notes ex­am­ples of con­ser­va­tion projects and work helping to re­verse de­clines, such as restora­tion of reedbeds and heath­land helping Bit­terns and Dart­ford War­blers re­spec­tively, and erad­i­ca­tion of rats on is­lands lead­ing to greater breed­ing suc­cess for Manx Shear­wa­ters, it says much more is needed, and quickly, be­cause the threats faced by di­verse species are so great. Among the birds noted as strug­gling are Hen Har­ri­ers, which are fac­ing per­se­cu­tion on some breed­ing grounds as well as loss of breed­ing habi­tat, and Ringed Plovers, which have de­clined be­cause of de­vel­op­ment of their pre­ferred breed­ing habi­tat. The State of Na­ture 2016 UK re­port was launched by Sir David At­ten­bor­ough and UK con­ser­va­tion and re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions at the Royal So­ci­ety in Lon­don on Septem­ber 14, with fur­ther events in Ed­in­burgh, Cardiff and Belfast. Sir David At­ten­bor­ough said: “The nat­u­ral world is in se­ri­ous trou­ble and it needs our help as never be­fore. The ral­ly­ing call is­sued af­ter the State of Na­ture re­port in 2013 has pro­moted ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive con­ser­va­tion projects. Land­scapes are be­ing re­stored, spe­cial places de­fended, strug­gling species be­ing saved and brought back. But we need to build sig­nif­i­cantly on this progress if we are to pro­vide a bright future for na­ture and for peo­ple. “The future of na­ture is un­der threat and we must work to­gether; Gov­ern­ments, con­ser­va­tion­ists, busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als, to help it. Mil­lions of peo­ple in the UK care very pas­sion­ately about na­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment and I be­lieve that we can work to­gether to turn around the for­tunes of wildlife.” Us­ing ev­i­dence from the last 50 years, the ex­perts have iden­ti­fied that sig­nif­i­cant and on­go­ing changes in agri­cul­tural prac­tices are hav­ing the sin­gle big­gest im­pact on na­ture. The re­port re­veals that since 2002, 53% of UK species stud­ied have de­clined.

Puffins are among the species fac­ing threats

Young con­ser­va­tion vol­un­teers have helped halt some species de­clines

Dart­ford War­bler

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