How to help protect the UK’s endangered species
Animals and plants help to maintain the health of an ecosystem. When these species become endangered, it’s a sign that an ecosystem is out of balance, and the consequences can be critical.
Animals in the UK are not exempt from being given the status of endangered. Almost two-thirds of species in the UK have declined in the past 50 years. With climate change, industrial farming, and the pollution of habitats being the main culprits, some of our much-loved UK wildlife is rapidly disappearing.
But what can we do to help species that could become extinct? Well, here are some helpful tips to help you out:
Boxes for bats
All bat species in the UK are protected by law because their numbers have declined so drastically. Nine out of 18 bat species are included in the Red List for Britain’s mammals. This is a result of climate change, habitat loss, and the loss of insects to feed on from agricultural changes. The species are becoming more reliant on urban habitats, where they are likely to be found roosting in buildings, parks, and gardens.
One way to ensure that bats stay safe is to put up a bat box, an artificial roost that will encourage bats to nest. You can buy bat boxes, or you can get creative and make one yourself. Once assembled, find a suitable place to position your box - this could be on a tree trunk; or under the eaves of your house, as long as it is at least five metres off the ground.
Stag Beetle log piles
Stag beetles are commonly found in southern England however, elsewhere in Britain, they are extremely rare or even extinct. They are classed as a priority species in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The decline in numbers has been attributed to the tidying up of parks and green spaces, plus the removal of tree stumps and dead wood. Without this, the beetles have nowhere for their larvae to grow.
Developments will continue to reduce stag beetle habitats but, People’s Trust for Endangered Spaces (PTES) says that increased awareness of their existence can help defend the beetles against these developments. You can get involved with stag beetle conservation by telling PTES when you see one, carrying out a survey, or even creating a log pile habitat for them. All information to help stag beetle conservation can be found here.
Hedgehogs in Britain are declining and are now listed as vulnerable on Britain’s Red List for Mammals. There isn’t one singular cause for their decline; however, there are some contributing factors such as; habitat loss, road casualties, lack of food, and habitat fragmentation.
The best way to save hedgehogs is to make sure they do not need to go through any danger to get to where they are heading. Did you know that hedgehogs can travel up to one mile every night to find food and a mate? Hedgehog highways are the way forward to protect the mammal from any danger or obstacles. The highways will provide holes and access points for hedgehogs to roam freely between enclosed gardens. If you create a hole or access for the hedgehog highway, you can plot it on the interactive map and become part of the national network for hedgehogs.
If you don’t have a garden then don’t fear as there is still something you can do to help out endangered species. You can support and donate money to your local conservation groups and charities, or other causes focusing on endangered animals. Just download the Toucan app and create a portfolio of up to three charities, and you can split monthly donations between them.