It’s not just exotic species in Africa or Asia that are threatened with extinction. The UK has lost over 500 native species in the last 200 years including around 12% of our land mammals and almost a quarter of our native butterflies. And did you realise that the UK has already lost 88% of its forests and has less woodland than any other European country?
UK wildlife faces the same serious problems that threaten biodiversity across the world. That’s why Act For Wildlife supports the work of Biodiversity Officer Sarah Bird, working with partners, government agencies and communities to protect and conserve wildlife here in the UK.
Sarah acts as the eyes and ears of the zoo, building links with conservation partners, and seeking out key roles where Chester Zoo can really help. Our zoo staff have a wealth of unique conservation skills, and the UK wildlife project has a large number of elements. Specialist animal keepers help in conservation breeding schemes for harvest mice, sand lizards, fen raft spiders and large heath butterflies.
Horticulturists nurture insurance populations of rare species like Isle of Man cabbage and limestone woundwort, and grow threatened juniper plants for reintroduction. Veterinary skills have proved vital in hazel dormouse research and health screening in reintroduction work.
Additionally we’re achieving successes in areas like habitat improvement (e.g. creating ponds for amphibians and rare water plants); recording and monitoring wildlife; and training the conservation professionals of the future.
Our UK Wildlife Project is about ‘our’ wildlife here at home. That’s why it’s so important! Conservation must start at home in our back gardens, parks, cities and open spaces. The wildlife we have in the UK is fascinating and diverse, and it is our heritage and our responsibility.
We're passionate about our wildlife and species that make up the fantastic natural world we are blessed with in the UK. They enrich our lives and inspire us. We want to share our passion, and help other people appreciate and value what is living around them. Together we can protect the UK’s wildlife – through Act for Wildlife.
Last year we joined forces with The Vincent Wildlife Trust on their Pine Marten Recovery Project. See how one pine marten in particular has settled into her new life in Wales.
Our experts at Chester Zoo have helped reintroduce this rare species of butterfly into the wild for the third year running and the population now appears to be flourishing at the release site, Heysham Moss.
CUTE ALERT – a Scottish wildcat has been born at Chester Zoo. The species is Britain’s rarest mammal, meaning the new arrival has given a big boost to conservation efforts to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.