Plea to government for wildlife action

DON’T forget wildlife!

That was the plea to the government today as the Chancellor prepares to make final changes to his comprehensive spending review that will be published later this year.

And the RSPB also urged farmers and other leaders of the county’s agricultural industry not to abandon attempts to improve biodiversity.

The RSPB has published a list of 40 species that need urgent help to prevent their decline or to continue to support their recovery – 26 of those species are found in East Anglia.

Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB’s Conservation Director, said: “For 120 years the RSPB has been spearheading the protection of the UK’s birds.

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“Today we’re calling on politicians, business leaders and the third sector to save these priority species for future generations to enjoy.

“Throughout history, birds like the cuckoo, house sparrow, skylark, turtle dove and the swift have been a part of our countryside.

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“Now that more birds are sinking towards oblivion they need us more than ever. We want to ensure that birds have a strong future as well as a strong past.”

Birds like the house sparrow have been in decline for some years, but recently there has been a dramatic fall in the number of kestrels, cuckoos and swifts and more research needs to be done into their decline.

The RSPB has also been working with farmers to improve habitat for other threatened bird like lapwings and skylarks whose numbers have dropped dramatically over the last 30 years.

Erica Rowe from the RSPB in East Anglia said: “We have been working quite a lot with the government and the farming community over recent years to improve the habitat for wildlife, especially birds.

“We have built with three equal partners – but it’s a bit like a three-legged stool. If you break one of the legs the whole thing collapses.”

She said government support had been vital in persuading farmers to leave fields clear for wildlife.

“If that support is withdrawn it could be very difficult for wildlife,” she said.

Households could play their part in helping wildlife by feeding birds and encouraging insects and even small mammals into their gardens.

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