Is IT TOO LATE?
Hedgehogs are down 90% and if current trends continue, then the hedgehog we all love will be gone within 10 years. To put that into perspective, my eldest son will be 14 if this happens as predicted!
a common rarity now!
It’s all too familiar, the words from an older generation “When I was young, I used to see loads of sparrows, now I only see a handful.” Sparrow populations have become a concern for conservationists despite them being once so common.
These invertabrates are the backbone of our food supply, if they were to go today, we’d be fortunate to last 10 years!
Why care? You might think we’d say because it’s great for your health, or because it makes you feel good, but it’s not a line we like to take, for a start it makes it all about us, which is precisely the kind of attitude that’s got nature into the situation it’s in. It’s true, it’s good for your health and is enjoyable to watch, but nature needs a place because first and foremost, it is alive! The fact it’s here, means we have a duty to keep it here. Now we’re not talking invasive species, balance in the eco system is important and delicate, but we have done much to destroy that balance. House sparrows are in decline for lack of nesting places; bees have been affected badly by pesticides, varroa mite and colony collapse; Hedgehogs are without habitat and find our modern way of living too dangerous to move around in, whilst area poulations under 50 can not support enough genetic diverstiy and result in local area extinction.
Needing a hand
Thanks to the Hampshire Wildlife Trust the marsh fritillary is part of a reintroduction effort having been gone for 20 years!
So, we want butterflies, but we don’t want catterpilars? It’s too simplistic to say that killing catterpilars is the only reason for a huge decline in nearly all butterflies, but let’s face it, it doesn’t help. So next time you see a catterpillar, please don’t stomp it out, move it (no not next door!) or plant specific plants and accept a good loss!
the silent song
Song thrushes are down 50-70% and are now seldom seen in gardens. Our relentless pursuit of preserving plants from slugs and snails has not helped this bird, who ingests the pesticides we use whilst feeding on our garden enemy.
on the margins
As farming has bcome more intense and machines have become ever larger, field margins, once species rich in flowers, have been removed. These margins would have supported huge numbers of insects, both in egg laying sites and food. Birds are really feeling the strain due loss of farmland habitat, with the insects some feed on going through an alarming decline, much of it due to habitat loss like the field verge. Couple this with the tearing out of hedges and two crucial habitats have been destroyed. Thankfully it looks like a ‘better late than never’ effort is being made by some farmers to reintroduce these important countryside featues, as well as nature caring volunteers and organisations. Much still needs to be done though.
FILL THE HOLE!
Not much is known about our native ponds, but what we do know is that they are disappearing and the ones that remain are mostly are of poor quality. A garden pond can make a huge difference if managed for wildlife.
Most of us know about the plight of the red squirrel which is now mainly found in the north of England, Scotland and the Isle of White, due to the introduction of North American grey squirrels, but did you know that studies are finding that where pine Martins are increasing, grey squirrels are decreasing and red squirrels are gaining a foothold? Keep an eye on this story as it could yet prove promising and just goes to show the importance of having native species.
BECAUSE THIS LOOKS BETTER!