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.
Here’s a few species in particular need of our protection.
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
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
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.
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
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!
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.
We hope you found this article informative!
Head to our blog for more tips for sustainable and nature connected living.
The Buttercup Team