Buttercup Learning
April 13, 2023

How to help endangered species

A staggering 41 percent of UK species have declined since the 1970s. So which species are at risk, and how can you and your family help?

Britain has lost almost half of its biodiversity since the Industrial Revolution. In fact, the UK ranks in the bottom 10% of countries globally. 

Farming, urban spread, pollution and climate change are the main causes of this. 

But you might be wondering…which species are endangered? And how can you and your family help?

Here’s a rundown.

Fossil fuel power station. Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

41 percent of UK species have declined since the 1970s and among UK mammals alone, 26 percent are at risk of becoming extinct – with many more plants, insects, birds and other organisms in danger.

Here’s a few species in particular need of our protection.


Hedgehog. Photo by Alicja Gancarz on Unsplash

Since the 1950s the number of these much-loved creatures has declined by 95% in Britain.

Scientists believe this is due to warmer winters affecting their hibernation patterns – waking them before there’s enough food to survive. New building and road developments may also be a factor.

Shrill Carder Bee

Shrill Carder Bee. Photo by Ivar Leidus, via Wikimedia Commons

Aside from their beauty, insects play a pivotal role in ecosystems. They’re an integral part of food chains, and essential to pollination. 

Humans are dependent on food produced through bee pollination.

Among endangered UK insects is the Shrill Carder bee. Once widespread in southern England, it is now one of the UK’s rarest bumblebees. 

Small tortoiseshell butterfly

Small tortoiseshell butterfly. Photo by Janice Gill on Unsplash

UK butterflies have been in worrying decline in recent years. The small tortoiseshell butterfly in particular. Once one of our most common butterfly species, its population has dropped by 75% since the 1970s. 

Wetter springs and summers, and the destruction of their habitats and food supplies are believed to be the main reasons for this loss.

Hazel dormouse

Hazel dormouse. Photo by Björn Schulz, via Wikimedia Commons

The dormouse population is seriously endangered. Their numbers are estimated to have fallen by 52% since 1995. Hazel dormice are especially under threat.

Dormice need the protection of trees, so loss of ancient woodland and hedgerows is thought to be a major reason for their decline.

Climate change has contributed too. Milder winters have disrupted the species’ hibernation cycle, causing them to wake too early. 

A reduction in coppicing and other traditional forestry methods, which create ideal habitats for dormice, has also caused them to become endangered.

So what can you do to help?

1. Plant bee-friendly flowers

Wildflowers. Photo by Ilona Mester on Unsplash

If you have a garden, why not sow some wildflower seeds across a strip of your lawn?  

Alternatively, encourage friends, family and neighbours with more outdoor space to start a wildflower meadow!

Buttercups, dandelions, clovers, cowslips, clovers and daisies not only look beautiful, but are a lifeline for bees and other insects.

2. Help tackle climate change

Harming ecosystems and disrupting weather patterns, climate change is a huge driver of biodiversity loss.

As the UN noted:

“Climate change and biodiversity loss (as well as pollution) are part of an interlinked triple planetary crisis the world is facing today. They need to be tackled together if we are to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and secure a viable future on this planet.”

We all have a role to play in combating climate change. Here’s 5 actionable things you and your family can do!

3. Support conservation charities

Fundraising or donating to conservation charities is a brilliant way to help biodiversity.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. They’ve planted over 50 million trees since 1972 (that’s one million a year!) and protect and restore native woodlands across Britain. Their vital work prevents habitat loss and preserves carbon stores needed to fight climate change. They help endangered species like dormice by providing nest boxes and using traditional forestry methods. Make a donation here!

Other great charities include the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts.

4. Inspire future generations

If you’re a parent or carer, try to involve your kids in activities which help biodiversity and endangered species – like making homes for stag beetles by building a log pile in your garden, or hanging a bird feeder for your local feathered friends.

Inspiring the next generation to love and care for wildlife is essential for protecting biodiversity in the long-term.

Bird Feeder. Photo by Mark Timberlake on Unsplash

We hope you found this article informative! 

Head to our blog for more tips for sustainable and nature connected living.

The Buttercup Team

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