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