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When we think about wildlife, most of us think about tropical rainforests and coral reefs, where biodiversity is high and species are super colourful. Lots of us have been overlooking the incredible species that can be seen just on our doorstep.

An estimated 88,000 species are thought to live in the UK, which due to the climate is a more diverse area than most people think! Today the diversity is much lower than it has been historically with many species and their habitats are under pressure. In lots of areas, this is due to urban expansion, intensive agriculture and industry. Now, combined with climate change, this pressure on ecosystems is only increasing.

We rely on many of our species for maintaining our air, soil and water quality as well as food and ecosystem management. All our species make up part of a healthy ecosystem so whenever we lose a species we lose part of that food chain and it can impact other species in ways we don’t expect. We only know we are losing a species by monitoring them, which is why keeping records of our wildlife is such a big part of conservation in the UK. This information helps us to spot changes and to take action while we can.


Photo by Becca Orange


It is important that we all appreciate our wildlife before it is too late. There are over 65million people living in the UK, and if we all took the time to consider our wildlife and made a small action each day, it would have a huge impact. I have outlined a couple of easy ways to help wildlife today below:

  • Pick up litter and put it in the correct bin – this helps prevent animals getting caught in it or eating it.
  • Consider your diet – changing natural habitats into farmland for livestock is one of the main causes of habitat loss on the planet. By eating less meat and fish there is less demand for livestock.
  • Give wildlife a home – make areas of your gardens and local green spaces more accessible to wildlife by providing log piles, bird and bat boxes as well as feeding stations.
  • Plant native wildflowers – this helps pollinators, and night-flowering plants encourages bats!
  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides – these can affect the soil quality, can be toxic to soil-living organisms, and can affect the aquatic life in rivers and streams.


Photo by Fran Anderson


  • Drive slowly in mornings and evenings to avoid hitting any wildlife.
  • Connect habitats – fragmentation of habitats is a big issue affecting many of our native species. If they can’t get between different habitats then our species will be stuck in small, secluded areas with not enough food or other individuals. If we connect their habitats, for example by encouraging hedgerows or making gaps in fences to allow hedgehogs to wander through our gardens, this will have a big impact.
  • Get outside and connect with nature! – spending more time in nature improves understanding and appreciation for different species. Getting involved in local conservation groups helps you to meet people and spread the positivity about wildlife.
  • Help with monitoring projects – there are some monitoring projects which anyone can take part in, such as the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. This is a brilliant way to help with a monitoring project and the data collected is extremely useful.

Currently over 40% of natural habitats in the UK are at risk and over half of the species are in decline. The majority of people assume this is what the wildlife in this country has always been like, however this is very wrong. Just a couple of decades ago, turtle doves were common across Britain however now this is the fastest declining bird in the UK. It is easy to not notice species going missing, however it is important to monitor this or we won’t be able to do anything about it. The wildlife in this county is important and diverse, and we won’t be able to help protect it until we appreciate, understand and conserve it.


Photo by Fran Anderson


If you are interested in learning more about UK wildlife and want to learn some survey skills why not come along and join one of our field courses in West Sussex! There we work on a rewilding site called the Knepp Estate and we study a huge range of species from tiny invertebrates such as the Batman hoverfly to large herbivores such as Longhorn cattle and Exmoor ponies. We help you to understand the principles behind rewilding, and give you ideas on how you can transform your local green spaces into habitats for wildlife.



Title photo by Jake Turton

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