Nature needs a wIN. Why I will be voting for the UK to stay in the European Union.

I am blogging from my personal perspective. For me nature is a key area and something I focus on when making political decisions. I do believe that there are many other positives for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union, and a leap into isolation is a backwards step that will stifle us.

So why does nature in the UK need us to REMAIN in the European Union? Well, to put it bluntly, the environmental record of the UK is poor. Prior to the European Union we were the dirty man of Europe, our beaches were filthy, our air was polluted and our wildlife conservation laws were weak. The European Union has tough environmental laws which have forced the UK to clean up our act. So much so that now we have some of the cleanest beaches in Europe, with 95% clean enough to swim from, a large jump since the 90s, when over a quarter of British beaches were too dirty to swim from. In fact the EU has introduced even tougher legislation on this issue which will further improve the standard.

The EU has the single largest body of environmental legislation in the world. Evidence shows that this has had an exceptionally positive impact. A new scientific study released this week has shown that the EU Nature Directives (laws that protect wildlife, habitat and environment) are vital to Europe’s ability to protect its wildlife. The Nature Directives work; not only have they benefited wildlife, but they benefit all of us. Natura 2000 is a network of nature protection areas in the EU, 98% of EU citizens now live within a 12 mile radius of these sites, these sites not only offer us a chance to connect with nature, they also give us more practical benefits such as clean water, flood protection, cleaner air and help to mitigate climate change.

Cleaner beaches, cleaner air and more wildlife sites not only have a positive impact on nature, but also on our health and economy.


I find the idea that the UK government after a Brexit would introduce environmental and conservation laws of a similar level to the EU laughable. The damage this government continues to do even with restrictive EU laws is frightening. Take fracking under national parks as an example of this. I cannot even think of the disastrous outcomes a Brexit would cause. It has even been argued that a Brexit could be a positive thing for wildlife throughout the EU, because the UK consistently drags it’s heals and attempts to dismantle almost every environmental law put in front of it.

Globally nature is not in a good place at the moment. Climate change is a real threat to our way of life, habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate and wildlife is increasingly becoming endangered. At this time we need more collaboration between nations, nature sees no boundaries and the importance of strong cross-border environmental laws cannot be underestimated.

Environmental groups have strongly backed the Remain campaign, nature is an asset to our country and one that needs protection. In order for us to truly protect our wildlife and our countryside, I believe Britain needs the European Union.

Back from the dead- Blue-eyed Ground Dove

The stand-out blue eyes of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove had not been seen for 75 years, and had never been photographed, until now. Researchers have confirmed the unlikely news that the Ground Dove, which was believed to have been extinct for almost a century, still lives in some top secret remote areas in Brazil. Whilst the news has been met with joy and celebration efforts have now turned to the bird’s conservation, with only 12 individuals documented. The announcement was made at the Brazilian Birdwatching Festival, where audience members were presented with evidence of the bird’s existence, this news has been met with delight and excitement at the bird that came back from the dead (sort of)!


Blue-eyed Ground Dove Columbina cyanopis © Rafael Bessa

3 Incredibly Important Animal Species

Vultures: Vultures are the ultimate scavengers, feeding off the carcasses of dead animals. Given their association with death and what we perceive as disgusting eating habits, their reputation is not always the best, however this remarkable bird is incredibly important for their entire ecosystem (including humans). By eating the bodies of dead animals vultures are cleaning up their habitat. Their job may not be the most glamorous, but animal bodies are a breeding ground for disease, by removing them from their habitat vultures help to stop this disease from spreading.


Bats: Like the vulture, bats sometimes have a undeserved poor reputation. However with 1300 different species throughout the world bats are incredibly important for a number of reasons. Many bat species are insectivores, consuming millions of insects each year. This directly helps people, as bats are a natural pest control and have been shown to save farmers billions of dollars each year. There are some bat species that feed on nectar, these bats are important in pollination, bees may be the most famous pollinators, but they certainly are not the only ones. Bats pick up pollen whilst feeding on nectar and transfer it between plants. Fruit-eating bats disperse seeds in their droppings, helping plants to colonise certain areas. The bat droppings themselves are also a natural fertiliser and help plants to grow throughout the forest.

 Hanging fruit bat

Ants: We have identified over 12,000 species of ants worldwide. Ants role in the ecosystem cannot be underestimated. Firstly they turn up and aerate soil, in fact they turn up more soil than earthworms. This maintains healthy soil and helps plants to grow and allows water and oxygen to reach plant roots. Ants themselves are a vital food source for a huge variety of species across the globe, in fact species such as the anteater rely on them for their survival, ants are a key element in the food chain. They themselves feed on organic waste, and in a similar way to the vultures are responsible for cleaning up their environment.

Busy, busy......

Garry Oak meadows!

The Garry Oak meadows are still blooming in Victoria, BC so beautiful! This habitat is vital for many endangered species and has declined significantly, in Canada it is only found in British Columbia, especially on Vancouver Island!


Weirdest Animal Disguises!!


State of North America’s Birds report shows a third are threatened with extinction

The first State of North America’s Bird report has been released and it shows that of the 1,154 bird species that live in and migrate among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, 432 are listed as species of high concern (of extinction) because of low or declining populations. The report also states that a billion birds have disappeared in North America since 1970.


The report was put together by experts from all three countries taking into account many factors such as population trends and size, ranges and severity of threats. Birds were split into their habitats, and the report showed that ocean species such as gannet were in severe decline and that in some cases coastal birds have declined as much as 90%.

The study did highlight some positives, waterfowl species are starting to rebound, due to large scale wetland rehabilitation and limits on hunting, whilst raptors such as osprey are benefiting from the ban on pesticides particularly DDT, which decimated their populations. This definitely shows that there is hope for many of the declining species.

 canada warbler

Many birds in North America are migratory, a study like this is important to highlight the importance of cross-boundary conservation. A country can make huge efforts within it’s borders, but ultimately if that species then travels south (or north) to a country with little to no conservation regulations then that species will continue to struggle overall. The importance of cross boundary habitats that link together cannot be underestimated. Government officials were present at the release of the report; Canada, U.S. and Mexico have migratory bird agreements, and the hope is that this report will highlight the importance of those agreements and the need for them to be strengthened in order to protect and save North America’s birds.


World’s smallest porpoise could become extinct in 5 years.

Figures released this week showed that the smallest porpoise in the world could become in extinct within the next 5 years. The species, found in the Gulf of California is critically endangered with just 60 left in the wild. Illegal fishing of another critically endangered species is driving the porpoise towards extinction.

Bearded vulture baffles British birders!

When you think of seeing vultures what places come to mind? The hot plains of Africa or southern Europe perhaps, but this week birders in the UK have spotted the first ever wild vulture in the country. The bearded vulture or lammergeier was filmed at the Severn Crossing and was seen in the skies above Dartmoor on Monday. The sighting has sent birders scrambling to the South West to try and catch a glimpse of this incredible bird (I would be joining them if I could). Bearded vultures are often found in the high mountains of southern and eastern Europe, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Tibet. The bird feeds on bones and bone marrow, it has a highly acidic stomach in order to digest the bones. They are a large species, one of Europe’s largest raptors with a 9 foot wingspan. What this bird is doing in the UK is unknown, but I imagine it is a little lost, and will probably be moving south into Europe soon, but for now we can celebrate having this wonderful bird in the UK!

30 Days Wild | 15 (more) ways to be wild everyday

June is fast approaching (didn’t that go quick) and so the start of the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild campaign will be soon be here. Last month I blogged about 15 ways to do something wild everyday; and today I have 15 more!

  1. Identify a bird.
  2. Attend a guided nature walk (local Wildlife Trusts have many nature walks throughout the summer and they are usually free!).
  3. Make a moth trap.
  4. Walk in the woods.
  5. Eat lunch outside.
  6. Watch a wildlife documentary (yes this counts!).
  7. Listen for the dawn chorus.
  8. Learn some wildlife tracks.
  9. Plant some native plants in your garden.
  10. Research your favourite wildlife species or topic.
  11. Subscribe to a nature blog, Youtube channel or magazine (there are loads out there).
  12. Get lost in the countryside, you will probably find some wonderful wildlife and a nice pub, win/win.
  13. Look under a rock or branch.
  14. Explore rockpools at the beach.
  15. Record what you have done and seen, species records and data from the public are vital to many wildlife charities and scientists, so keep a list and let them know!

Doing something wild can be as large or as small as you wish. The campaign aims to get people outside enjoying and celebrating British wildlife!


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