Around 25% of animals and plants are now threatened with extinction. It’s not just in the rainforests of the Amazon or the coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef that are in danger. In the UK, recent studies show that around one third of the 353 wild bee and hoverfly species are in decline.
Species such as skylarks (down 50% in Europe over 40 years), hedgehogs (down by almost half in rural and a third in urban areas) and bats are in decline due to loss of habitat, use of pesticides and other human activity. Humans and livestock now account for 96% of all mammals on Earth - just 4% are wild animals.
The home front
Private gardens cover a large area of the Borough so are vitally important for local wildlife.
Make your garden a wildlife haven
Reduce pesticide use
Avoid using pesticides, weedkillers, ant sprays and slug pellets. Instead look for natural solutions to deal with garden pests. And relax a little about weeds – bees love them.
Install bird boxes and hedgehog holes
If you live in a house, install swift, sparrow or bat boxes by the eaves and create a hedgehog hole in your fence.
Plant a tree
If you have space, plant a tree. Trees absorb carbon, reduce pollution and nurture wildlife. Through the Woodland Trust's #EveryTreeCounts campaign, you can pledge to plant a tree in your garden or take part in a tree planting event.
Put a bell collar on your cat
Domestic cats kill a large number of birds in UK gardens. Fitting them with a bell collar and keeping them in at night can reduce ‘unwanted gifts’.
Become a citizen scientist
Information from citizen scientists provides researchers with vital data to support conservation projects. There are lots of projects you can take part in, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' annual Big Garden Birdwatch, the Great British Bee Count and the Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count. The Natural History Museum also has lots of information on various projects you can take part in and even guides on how to set up your own.
The decisions we make when buying food can have a huge impact on wildlife loss.
Eat more plants, less meat
A WWF report found 60% of global biodiversity loss is down to meat-based diets which put huge strain on the Earth’s resources. If everyone ate the nutritionally recommended amount of animal products, we’d need 13% less land to grow feed - land that could be used for wildlife conservation. Get proteins from other sources such as legumes, beans and nuts instead. Find out more about sustainable food.
Protect our oceans
Overfishing and bycatch (other marine creatures being caught up in nets) are responsible for declines in ocean wildlife populations. Follow the Marine Conservation Society good fish guide and buy fish that carries the MSC logo.
Find out more about eating sustainably.