The UK wildlife landscape is in crisis, with several species of plants and wildlife facing the very real risk of extinction and many more dwindling in numbers so rapidly that they will soon be on the danger list.
A 21st-century problem?
The crisis is definitely gaining public attention these days, but the problems are not all contemporary. A report titled “The State of Nature” shows a 75% drop in numbers amongst the animals on the “in serious danger” list back in 1970, with over one tenth of all UK animal species at serious risk of extinction today. A horrifying one in six plants, birds, fish and animals are gone forever. Before long, a Bronze Wildlife Sculptures of hares and foxes may be our only way to remember these creatures.
The shocking stats
The turtle dove population has plummeted by 95% in the last 20 years, and they are now very close to extinction. Skylarks, nightingales and lapwings fare no better, with shockingly high percentages having been lost, along with over half of all hedgehogs since the turn of the century.
What is to blame?
It is difficult to pinpoint one particular trigger; it might be wiser to consider a range of factors that could well play a part in this ecological disaster. These include the rapid and continuing industrialization and deforestation of areas that provided a natural habitat to wildlife of all kinds. However, while issues such as reclaiming greenbelts to build houses and climate change could play a role, changing farming techniques are thought to be the main culprit.
The problem with intensive farming
Major changes in the way farms operate can have a serious knock-on effect on wildlife, as food chains are broken, pesticides kill and habitats are lost. In the last half century or so, agriculture has become increasingly intensive, with higher quantity production targets leading to sowing the same crops in nearby fields, and fewer farmers practicing crop rotation, which all affect birds, insects, bees, animals and wildflowers. Perhaps a Bronze Wildlife Sculpture of defunct barn owls will be mementos of this species, too?
There’s no doubt the UK’s ecosystem is in crisis, and it isn’t clear if this situation can be rectified, but it could perhaps be balanced out or even slowed down if action is taken sooner rather than later.