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Chris Packham to bring bioblitz campaign to Suffolk to shine a light on the plight of wildlife

PUBLISHED: 19:16 18 July 2018

Chris Packham. Picture: PENNY DIXIE

Chris Packham. Picture: PENNY DIXIE

©Penny Dixie 2018

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham is set to visit Suffolk this Sunday as part of a UK-wide campaign to highlight the extent to which the nation’s wildlife is under threat.

His stop in East Anglia, including a planned visit to Suffolk nature reserve RSPB Lakenheath Fen, will mark the penultimate day of a ten-day UK Bioblitz initiative, which will see Mr Packham and a team of experts visit 50 wildlife sites in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

At each location experts and members of the public will carry out a ‘bioblitz’ and record all the wildlife found in a short period of time to get a snapshot of how nature is doing.

The team are not just focussing on nature reserves but also private holdings and community projects. Other sites in the East on Mr Packham’s whistlestop visit include Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Weeting Heath reserve.

As well as raising awareness about the plight of the UK’s wildlife, the results of this year’s Bioblitz campaign will be recorded to create a benchmark, which will be used to help measure the rise and fall in numbers of different species in the future.

Speaking to the EADT ahead of the campaign, Mr Packham said: “I have at my finger tips data that shows calamitous declines in habitats and the species that live in them - but these are figures and I literally want to put my fingers on the pulse.

“I want to make tangible how good or how bad is it [for wildlife]. We are visiting some nature reserves, but also community projects, road verges and pieces of land where people are doing it themselves. Nature reserves are a tool but alone they are not enough and I’m keen to champion people who do it themselves.”

Mr Packham said he wanted to “send out a message of self-empowerment to people to stand up and get on with it”.

He added: “If you are lucky enough to have a garden, make it more for nature - instead of paving and decking it all over, allow one corner to be wildlife friendly. If we brought all the gardens together we would have an area the size of Suffolk – imagine a nature reserve the size of Suffolk.”

Read the full interview with Chris Packham in the Environment section of this Saturday’s East Anglian Daily Times.

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