If they don’t want wild animals to continue going silently into the night, British citizens must act.
Wildlife in Britain, just as across much of the rest of Europe, is in decline. And if they don’t want wild animals to continue going silently into the night, citizens must act.
How? Environmentally conscious Brits should lobby for the use of pesticides to be taxed, for dog-free nature reserves to be set up, and for the shooting of grouse to be banned.
Snares should also be banned, and so should dredging scallops. At the same time species, now extinct in Britain, like lynxes and beavers, should be reintroduced to upland areas during rewilding projects.
And that’s just for starters. English naturalist and television presenter Chris Packman has coedited a People’s Manifesto for Wildlife, which lists some 200 recommendations from 17 wildlife experts for protecting what’s left of wildlife on the British Isles so as to prevent an “ecological apocalypse.”
The state of wildlife, Packman says in the manifesto, is “horrifying. Depressing. Disastrous. And yet somehow we have grown to accept this as part of our lives – we’ve normalised the drastic destruction of our wildlife.”
He cites two examples: 97% of flower-rich meadows have disappeared since the 1930s as a result of human activities, as have 86% of the corn buntings. Between 1970 and 2013, the numbers of wildlife species in the nation declined by more than half (56%), making Britain one of the world’s “most nature-depleted countries,” according to the 2016 State of Nature report by a group of environmental organizations.
Almost a fifth (15%) of 8,000 local wildlife species surveyed are facing the threat of extinction across the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the country is losing once ubiquitous hedgehogs, wild birds and wildflowers at alarming rates owing to the use of pesticides, rapid rates of land conversion and the effects of climate change.
Time is running out, Packman warns. “It’s time to wake up. We must rouse ourselves from this complacent stupor, because we are presiding over an ecological apocalypse and precipitating a mass extinction in our own backyard,” he says. “But – vitally – it is not too late. There is hope we can hold to, and there is action we can take.”