Feel­ing the loss

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - OUR WILDWORLD -

The white stork rein­tro­duc­tion in Sus­sex (Wild News, July 2018) is an ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment, but I do won­der if it will ever be pos­si­ble for con­ser­va­tion­ists (and politi­cians) to con­cen­trate on the real, un­der­ly­ing prob­lems of bio­di­ver­sity loss. It is rel­a­tively easy to rein­tro­duce big, charis­matic species when the un­der­ly­ing cause of their demise is re­moved. But an un­for­tu­nate side ef­fect of this suc­cess is that it gives the pub­lic a false sense of se­cu­rity and hope. The truth is that de­spite these suc­cesses there is a huge, un­prece­dented loss of species di­ver­sity, as well as a mas­sive loss of nat­u­ral biomass. I live in the mid­dle of agri­cul­tural East Anglia, and most of it is a bio­di­ver­sity desert. Over the past decades I have watched the pop­u­la­tions of al­most all small birds crash. And now it is rare to see more than a hand­ful of in­sects around a lamp at night. Let’s cel­e­brate the suc­cess of rein­tro­duc­tions, but I feel bound to point out that there are ab­so­lutely no grounds for op­ti­mism about the fu­ture of wildlife, with­out some dra­matic changes in gov­ern­ment and in­ter­na­tional poli­cies. John Bur­ton, East Anglia

Plans are un­der­way to rein­tro­duce the white stork in Sus­sex.

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