While habitat loss remains the greatest risk to wildlife other threats exist that can severely degrade existing habitats and reduce wildlife.
Invasive non-native species
Invasive non-native species are a huge and costly threat, with £2 billion being spent yearly trying to eradicate them. They can quickly take over, resulting in habitat and food loss for native species and ultimately a decline in diversity. They also cause direct problems for society through adverse affects on infrastructure and flood risks. Several of the problem species come from garden centre and aquarium trades.
Plantlife have advice on those plants to avoid and suitable alternatives while GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) have useful identification guides to download.
As an island county we are lucky to have some of the most varied and stunning coastline in the UK, however plastic litter is a big problem. Much plastic is not biodegradable and can pose several threats some more obvious than others.
It is an unsightly and deadly menace to birds, fish and mammals, as they can get entangled in it or ingest it, too often with fatal results. The magnificent leatherback turtle visits our waters in the summer. It is the largest turtle in the world and it can often make the mistake of confusing a plastic bag or balloon for it’s favourite food, jellyfish, blocking its throat or gullet, which can lead to death.
Litter can also facilitate the spread of marine invasive non-native species. They hitch a free ride on the huge islands of floating plastic litter out at sea and can simply wash up in new locations and start causing problems for native wildlife.
There are several simple things you can do to help, like cutting plastic can holders (used to keep beer cans together) means that animals can’t get tangled up. Ensure cotton buds are placed in a bin and not flushed down the toilet. Refrain from releasing balloons, as many end up at sea.
In general, “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle”.
The Adopt a Beach scheme can help you get involved in keeping our precious shore heritage pristine.