Species decline on such a scale is not acceptable
“More than half of UK species in decline” – New Scientist
There has been abrasion between humans and wildlife for millennia. Whether it be the hunter and the hunted, farming, environment grabbing for housing and factories, sport, war, or the illegal animal trade.
The human race has ballooned, mirrored by the drastic decline of many species. Big corporations continue to chase the profits and ignore the world which they flog to attain them. Anyone can see what the consequences will be if this isn’t corrected. These corporate villains aren’t alone in their misdemeanors, there are plenty of other groups and organisations who are bent on the destruction of the planet we call home.
Two high-profile campaigns that have caught the attention over the past few years. The persecution of hen harriers, and other raptors, on ‘highly profitable’ grouse moors across the UK has resulted in a petition gathering 121,989 signatures (as at 15.09.16), triggering a commons debate. The hard work behind this is hugely down to Mark Avery. His book ‘Inglorious‘ was the start of an impassioned awareness campaign, bringing the dark arts of the grouse shooting fraternity into the public domain. Mark’s campaign has gathered huge support. Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) is another campaign group in the fight against the continued persecution of our wildlife. Another integral cog in the support of our beleaguered Hen Harrier population. The RSPB have also recently removed themselves from talks with the grouse shooting groups and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ (Defra) hen harrier action plan, stating ‘lack of immediate progress’ and the ‘inability to build partnerships’. Chris Packham, another high profile voice in support of our hen harrier population, putting his views across on national news and various social media outlets. Taking on the pro shooting groups head on, irrespective of what might be thrown back at him. Others could well do to follow his lead.
The second is the highly controversial pursuit of culling badgers by Defra. Ignoring any scientific reasoning, the cull was extended. It has has been proven that this is an expensive and unreliable means of trying to control Bovine TB. The result is many healthy badgers are being needlessly shot. The Wildlife Trusts and Simon King have recently supported the banning of the cull process and any further expansions thereof. The current petition stands at 41,955 (as at 15.09.16), continuing to increase on a daily basis. Sharing this petition will help. The numbers really don’t add up. The cull is ineffective, extremely expensive and inhumane.
The fight to defend wildlife shouldn’t just be contained within your home shores. What happens across the globe has implications worldwide. The continued killing of migrating songbirds over Malta and the Mediterranean is a prime example. Plummeting numbers of turtle doves has put the species on to the ‘IUCN Red List of Endangered Species‘, yet the Maltese government still allow them to be shot in their thousands. This kind of disregard is unacceptable and selfish. Again, Chris Packham has been a huge influence in bringing these atrocities into the public domain. Spending time on the ground in Malta, supporting Bird Life Malta in their plight to ban the hunting of these endangered birds, quite often at the expense of his own character. Even spending time in a Maltese Police station.
The challenges our wildlife face are immense. Compounded by the decision to leave the EU and the environmental policies which came with it. I hope that we are able to use Brexit as a fresh starting point to build new, improved and more robust policies of our own. Putting the environment and the wildlife it contains, firmly at the forefront of British politics. We all need to work together, with nature, developing new methods and better practices. If we don’t, we leave nothing behind but problems and a broken planet. Nature, wildlife and the environment gain no benefit whatsoever from selfishness, inflated egos, or personal gain. Collaboration and partnerships are the way forward.
Social media is becoming an integral part of day-to-day life and is is being put to great use in natural world quarters. Below is a few accounts that I feel are well worth following on Twitter…
- @Natures_voice (RSPB)
- @_BTO (British Trust for Ornithology)
- @birdersagainst (Birders Against Wildlife Crime – BAWC)
You can also follow me on @WildlifePete