‘Over 1 in 10 UK species faces a real risk of extinction’

Written by Oliver Cottis.

Spring is the best time of year and we are stuck at home. With such a depressing grind of negativity, I don’t think it’s ever been as important to connect with nature in any way that we can.

For most of us, this means in our gardens. More people than ever before are noticing and paying attention to the wonderful wildlife that lives around or homes. We must take the time to admire what is there, as although we can’t go about our day to day lives, the natural world most certainly can. I, like many, am lucky enough to have nesting birds in my garden with starlings, blackbirds and house sparrows all making homes close by. Watching them go about their busy days is something that we can take true pleasure from in a world where we rarely stop looking down.

The existence of the wildlife around us is so heavily impacted by what we do, yet most of us forget that they’re even there. The food that we leave out for them can save lives but the ancient pristine habitat that we turn into fields, flats and railways can do the opposite. Where flowers once grew, dogs and the mess that lazy owners leave behind has turned rich microhabitats to mud. But now things have changed once again and where dog prints once lay now there are weasel tracks. Our land is being reclaimed from under our noses. It might not be worthy of a documentary, but a pair of stock doves looking to nest in my old oak tree would have been far from realistic only a few weeks ago. These surprisingly characterful birds are dead set on avoiding us and flee at the first site of people. What reason do they have not to fear humanity? Over 60% of wildlife populations have been destroyed in the last 50 years and it doesn’t look like stopping. That’s the human equivalent of removing everyone in Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Oceania.

Despite this, when only small groups of people work to make a difference, amazing things can happen. Red Kites have finally reached my part of Essex after years of persecution brought them to the brink of national extinction. Thanks to the efforts of a few selfless people, a large predator living right on our doorstep has been the subject of one of the most successful reintroductions in the history of our little island. Seeing such a majestic animal back in its natural habitat is something that we can’t take for granted, but we have to remember that this was almost taken from us. It’s not just polar bears and rhinos that are under threat. Over 1 in 10 UK species faces a real risk of extinction and our country has become one of the most nature depleted in the world.

Written by Oliver Cottis.

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