Friday 19 June 2020

Positive News for Wildlife

Positive News for Wildlife
This report reflects how our wildlife can make a comeback with a little support. Enjoy! 💕 

1. Sea Life Returning to the River Thames

According to Octopus Optimist Report: In the 1950s, London’s River Thames was so polluted it was declared biologically dead. However, after 62 years of conservation efforts, the River Thames has once again been deemed a “hub of life” by the Zoological Society of London. 

In 2019, ZSL launched its Mother Thames campaign, calling for public awareness of – and participation in – conservation efforts. In September, after their first comprehensive survey, the charity announced that 138 seal pups had recently returned to the Thames’ riverbanks!

They join more than 120 species of fish, including two species of shark, short-snouted seahorses and the critically endangered European eel.

2. Re-wilding Project to Help Nature Recover

A new national wildlife charity called Heal Rewilding is planning to buy ecologically depleted land across Britain and give it back to nature.

The charity will seek former farms, green belt or lower-grade land where wildlife can recover. The sites will be within easy reach of large towns and cities to benefit more people.

According to the Guardian: The initial £7m, 500-acre project will be in the southern English lowlands on a site yet to be announced, avoiding wildlife-rich land. The site will grow wild from its seed bank, animal seed dispersal or by spreading seeds from nearby land.

3. Beaver Population on the Rise in Britain

The River Otter Beaver Trial followed the two families of beavers introduced under licence into the wild in Devon in 2015. By 2019, the population had increased to at least eight breeding pairs across 13 territories.

Per the Positive News site: 'The report noted that beavers help to increase diversity of habitat for fish; higher numbers of brown trout, minnow and lamprey were recorded in beaver impacted areas of the river.'

Meanwhile, pools created by beaver-made dams contained 37 per cent more fish than stretches of the river with no dams.

4. Grass Cutting Being Stopped to Create Wildflower Meadows

Helen Tandy, from Friends of the Earth’s Chester and District branch said, “The Friends of the Earth team is really excited to be involved in the Urban Meadows project (at Chester and Ellesmere Port). 
We have been campaigning to protect our pollinators for over 10 years now and as part of that encouraging more local pollination strategies."

This project is part of the Council’s new Pollinator Strategy to boost biodiversity in the borough.

The Chester Standard reports: The new urban meadows will have nectar-rich plants like oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed which will provide nectar for bees and other insects into late summer. 

5. Providing Habitat for Lemurs in Madagascar

The People's Trust for Endangered Species are working with partners on a project to help lemurs in Madagascar. The project called SEED aims to replant trees to help them survive.

The team have collected 20,000 Acacia mangium seeds and 5,000 other seeds of 17 different native species. 
This vital work will reconnect lemur habitat and increase the forests by 58 hectares. 

The Acacia grows really quickly, plus fixes nitrogen into the soil and has a high survival rate. So growing this species first makes the environmental conditions more favourable for planting native species. Then native species are added to increase diversity.

6. Barn Owls Growing in Number in the UK

In 1987 barn owls were at their lowest ebb with around 4,500 breeding pairs, having declined by 70% since 1932.

According to the Guardian: In 1988 their fortunes started to change thanks to the work of Colin Shawyer, who set up the Barn Owl Conservation Network with the aim of doubling the population by 2020. More than 20,000 boxes have been put up nationally, with Shawyer installing 4,000 personally.

Shawyer’s ambitious targets have been smashed: barn owl numbers have nearly tripled and he doubts they will be able to climb much higher. Up to 80% of barn owls now nest in man-made boxes. There are an estimated 12,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

Barn Owl Photo by Jean van der Meulen from Pexels

7. White Stork Chicks Hatched in the Wild for the 1st Time in Centuries

Eggs in one of three nests at the Knepp estate in West Sussex have hatched, the White Stork Project announced. It came after the same pair of white storks unsuccessfully tried to breed at Knepp last year.

Lucy Groves, project officer for the White Stork Project, said it was the first time in hundreds of years that wild white stork chicks have hatched in the UK.

According to the Guardian: The project aims to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs of white storks in southern England by 2030.

8. Numbers of Greenback Turtles Spotted by Drones in Australia

Drones spotted endangered greenback turtles 
over the Great Barrier Reef heading for Raine Island in Australia. They estimated 64,000 turtles heading to shore ready to lay their eggs.

Young turtles are very vulnerable and a recovery project team on Raine Island are hoping to monitor the young ones to ensure their chances of survival improve. 

Videos of the mass migration can be seen here at:

9. House Sparrows Make a Comeback in the UK

The Guardian reports: Since the Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979 house sparrow numbers have declined by 53%. But in the past 10 years their numbers have begun to recover, with a 10% increase in sightings.

This year the house sparrow remained at the top of the rankings as the most commonly seen garden bird. Starlings were the second most sighted, followed by the blue tit.

More gardens also reported seeing long-tailed tits, which were up 14%, while wrens were up 13% and coal tits up 10% in 2020 compared with 2019.

10. Giant Orchard Planned for the West Country

Octopus Energy are working with Yeo Valley to plant a giant apple orchard in the British west country.

From the Octopus site: Over the last 100 years, apple orchards have disappeared from the British landscape, so ours will be planted at the site of a lost orchard where only a couple of ancient trees remain. 

The trees will suck carbon out of the atmosphere, and act as a supportive habitat for endangered British birds, insects, and mammals - like the vole!