Not all gloom for nocturnal wildlife
An assessment by conservationists on the state of our native nocturnal wildlife has found a picture of mixed fortunes.
The ground-breaking State of Nature report, compiled by 25 UK wildlife groups, shows that hedgehogs are one of the species hardest hit, with a decline of a third in the past 15 years .
This may be connected to a decline in food available to them on farmland.
Two of the country’s most iconic nocturnal mammals – foxes and badgers – remain in healthy numbers across the UK, but the story is rather more complicated for bats.
Bat numbers declined before the 1980s, but some species have stabilised recently, and a few others have increased as a consequence of better protection.
The greater horseshoe and lesser horseshoe bat populations showed annual increases of around 5% last year.
However, there is still a long way to go before these populations recover from the dramatic losses sustained in the 20th century.
For nocturnal birds the trends vary widely.
Barn owls have fared well, with a 67% increase in their range since the late 1980s, according to the British Trust for Ornithology.
Nightjars have also increased by 128% since 1981, but nightingale numbers have fallen by 46% since 1995.
Other nocturnal species that wildlife groups are concerned about include the natterjack toad, with the species disappearing from 70% of its former range in the last century. By 1970 it existed in only 50 places in the UK.
To download a copy of The State of Nature report, visit www.rspb.org.uk/stateofnature
Greater horseshoe bat numbers rose last year