Conservation News


Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught
will we realise we cannot eat money.

Cree Proverb


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Category: Creating & preserving wildlife habitat

  1. Saving the Small Blue Butterfly

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    Butterfly Conservation sent my husband and I information about the work they did to save the Small Blue Butterfly and it makes very interesting reading.

    I thought I’d share how they did it with you.   They are hoping to repeat the success of the Small Blue in the West Midlands with other declining butterflies and moths.

    Conservation efforts to help the Small Blue have been successful ©Peter Eeles Butterfly Conservation

    Here’s the conservation journey Butterfly Conservation took:

    1. Identify the problem

    So by 2009, the Small Blue had become extinct in 4 counties in the West Midlands.  In Warwickshire, it’s numbers had gone down by 87%.  Here, recorders could only find 3 colonies left.

    2. Research declines

    The Small Blue lays its eggs on flowering Kidney Vetch.   But site surveys for the Small Blue showed they were becoming too overgrown with scrub for new Kidney Vetch plants to establish themselves.

    3. Determine Solutions

    These were:

    • To remove scrub
    • To test methods of creating new habitat to encourage Kidney Vetch to germinate
    • To sow Kidney Vetch seed or plant plug plants

    4. Take Action!

    Since 2009, Butterfly Conservation has….. (drum roll please…)

    • Cleared 56 hectares of scrub
    • Created 27  butterfly banks
    • Dug 12 scrapes
    • Planted a whopping 13,000 Kidney Vetch plugs
    • Sowed 34kg of seeds over 60 sites

    4. Do the next steps

    The charity has recruited volunteers to monitor Small Blue numbers and help maintain and restore habitat.  This will help wildflowers and butterflies to flourish.

    5. Yippee!!  This has all been successful

    The Small Blue Butterfly liked the habitat improvements, colonizing restored habitat on occupied sites AND moving back to former sites.  It even went into areas it hadn’t been before

    By 2016, the Small Blue had spread to 19 sites.   This was  a six-fold increase in numbers in only 7 years!

    But there's more.  In this project, Butterfly Conservation says the Small Blue has been a ‘flagship’ or ‘umbrella’ species.  The reasons for this is that other butterflies, moths and invertebrates have been helped by improvements to the habitat.  The Grizzled Skipper, the Dingy Skipper, the Chalk Carpet moth and three of Warwickshire's rarest bumblebees all benefited.  Which just goes to show that conservation projects don't just help one species - they can help a good many.

    And now...

    So now it’s hoped that other butterflies can be helped in the same way.   Our changing climate is one factor, but research is taking place to find out why and then plan a way forward to reverse these declines.

    You can help today by donating to help the High Brown Fritillary.  It was once found in woodland clearings in much of England and Wales.

    Help the High Brown Fritilliary
    © Iain H Leach, Butterfly Conservation

    Since the 1970s, its distribution has declined by 96% and it now only remains in Exmoor, Dartmoor, Morecame Bay Limestones and South Cumbria LowFells and the Glamorgan Brackenlands.

    3 ways to help butterflies generally

    1. Plant a pot for pollinators in your garden – you only need space for a pot, you don’t need acres and acres
    2. Volunteer for your local Butterfly Conservation branch
    3. Have a good look round their website to look for a way to help
  2. Giving Day for Apes – Give them Twenty THOUSAND trees

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    Back in 2015, five million acres of Indonesian rainforest were destroyed by fire.

    The impact was devastating on all wildlife there.   And amongst those, many many orangutans were left starving and dying.

    In 2016,  … started a 10,000 Trees campaign and as a result, it was able to start a reforestation project.  And it was able to protect the area during recent forest fires.

    Pematang Gadung is situated closest to the orangutan rescue centre in Ketapang in West Borneo.   The area is home to wild orangutans. 

    And now in 2019, there’s a chance to plant a further 20,000 trees.

    International Animal Rescue needs to raise $20,000 on this Giving Day for Apes.

    The day is organized by the Arcus Foundation in partnership with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. 

    It’s a 24 hour event, and it encourages charitable donations through an online giving platform, hosted by Mightycause. 

    Qualified sanctuaries and rescue centres can compete to raise the most money for their cause, and to win prizes kindly given by sponsors.

    So the question is, will you give your support and sign the pledge to donate to the 20,000 trees on 25 September?

    The reason you’re asked to pledge is that it gives the charity an idea of whether they are likely to raise the required amount.

    By the way, you can donate today on the charity’s Giving Day for Apes Mighty Cause page.  But donate on the 25th September, and you’ll increase charities’ changes of winning extra awards and grants.

    Sign the pledge, and they will send you an e-mail reminder to donate on the 25th September.

    Sign the pledge


  3. Help orangutans with this appeal to buy and restore a rainforest

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    Have you seen the Orangutan Jungle School on Channel 4?

    It’s been amazing television to my mind and hopefully it will help raise awareness of the danger we are in of losing orangutans.

    One of the things that I’ve noticed about wildlife programmes recently is that quite a few of them have said wildlife are in the state they are in because of human activities such as deforestation, climate change, loss of habitat, pollution and so on.

    But they’ve also given hope – that there is something we can do to turn this around.

    So today I was very pleased to see in my inbox an appeal from the Sumatran Orangutan Society who are actually based in the beautiful county of Oxfordshire in the UK.

    We all have the opportunity to contribute to a new forest home for Orangutans!

    Help create a new forest orangutans - click here to donate Help create a new forest orangutans - click here to donate 
    Photo ©Zac Mills

    The Sumatran Orangutan Society has an amazing opportunity to replant an Indonesian jungle, because a palm oil plantation there is up for sale.

    If the Society can buy it, they can restore the rainforest – and not just for orangutans! Tigers, elephants and many, many species will benefit! 

    But – as usual these things are time sensitive.  There are just a few weeks available to make this happen and secure the land.

    The Oxfordshire based charity is working with a local organization called Yayasan Orangutan Sumatera Lestari – YOSL for short.

    The aim is to buy and restore the 890 acre site to its natural glory.   Out with the oil palms, and in with replanting the forest to encourage wildlife to return.  

    This is all the more important because it will extend their habitat from the national park next door.

    YOSL have a really good track record, working with local communities to bring forests back to life.

    So far, they have planted over 1.6 million trees in several other restoration sites in the area.  The great news is that orangutans, elephants and sun bears are coming back to these areas.   So it works!

    Now, as I said, there are just a few weeks to get this done.   By 9 September 2018, the first installment must be raised to secure the land.  The alternative is that the land continue to be a plantation.

    There’s more information on how this plantation will be bought, restored and managed with a number of FAQs here.

    The target is £ 870,000 – find out how it’s doing today and see if you’ll be willing to contribute to actively making a difference to wildlife.   Every penny or cent counts, whatever you can donate.  The more hands to the deck, the better.

    Donate to this appeal here

    I’ve made a donation to this appeal in memory of my father, who died five years ago this August bank holiday weekend.   I still miss him every single day.  He loved making a difference and would rather we go out and do something to better the world than sit and mope.  Planting trees or making a donation like this is one way I can feel his love sprinkled around the world and know I’m doing just that! 

    If you’re looking for a present for an orangutan lover, you could also buy a t-shirt from the Orangutan shop – I’ve bought a t-shirt myself and am really pleased with the quality and feel of it :-) 

  4. Will you Pledge a Patch for wildlife?

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    Worcestershire Wildlife Trust have come up with a great initiative, asking people to Pledge a Patch for wildlife.

    Worcestershire Wildlife Trust are asking people to pledge a patch for wildlife 

    Although they are asking people in Worcestershire to do this, I thought, what a brilliant idea - and so I wanted to let everyone know about it in the hope more people would follow suit wherever they are and pledge a patch for wildlife!

    There are 46 Wildlife Trusts around the UK - you can find your local here.

    The Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is celebrating its 50th birthday and it now has 75+ nature reserves across Worcestershire.  They describe them as "stepping stones in the landscape" - I love that description.  And they are asking people to join the dogs so that wildlife can move through safely. 

    Wildlife all over the world need wildlife corridors to help them move from one place to another and these are vital to help them reach everything they need to survive and thrive. 

    Ideas of how you can pledge a patch are... (and no, you don't need a garden)...

    • Fill a window box with nectar and pollen rich plants
    • Attach a bug box to the wall of your house
    • Leave a 1m by 1m square of grass longer so that daisies can grow for the bees
    • Put up a nest box for birds
    • Plant a pollinator patch in an area of land - businesses could easily do that
    • Bring your neighbours together and ensure that hedgehogs can get from one garden to another easily
    • Join up with locals to turn an unused patch of land into an areas for butterflies
    • Create a small pond for frogs and toads
    • Offer to manage a local verge and fill it with wild flowers - just sow wildflowers around it and don't mow it so often

    So there's plenty everyone can do wherever you are.  80 peole have already signed up to the Pledge a Patch initiative and you can find out more from their website here.