Help save Gloucestershire’s threatened wildlife

THIS IS GLOUCESTERSHIRE.CO.UK

GARDENERS are being urged to weigh in to stop wildlife being lost from the county for good.

A list of extinct and endangered animals and plants has been published to draw attention to species most at risk.

The biggest threat is to the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, which could die out in Gloucestershire if numbers continue to decline.

Paul Hackman, Natural England conservation officer for Gloucestershire, said: “If we don’t act now it could be gone in another 20 years.

“In the 1950s we had 150 grassland sites in Gloucestershire with this species. We did a recent survey and are probably down to 12 sites now.”

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The small brown and yellow butterfly feeds on cow slips growing in semi shaded conditions.

Natural England is successfully working closely with farmers and landowners to raise awareness.

The organisation is encouraging people with gardens to take action too.

Mr Hackman said: “We’re losing certain species, which means when they are completely extinct they are not going to come back.

“That masks a general decline in more common species, which perhaps people used to see a few years ago and don’t see anymore.

“If people have gardens they can do their bit by making them more attractive to wildlife by putting up bird boxes, stopping using pesticides and creating wild patches.”

Other threatened species include the pasque flower, which has declined in number to just a handful of sites in Gloucestershire ā€“ Rodborough Common, Horsleaslow Roughs, Bourton Downs and Barnsley Warren.

Farmland birds across the Cotswolds ā€“ including the corn bunting, grey partridge, turtle dove and yellow wagtail are threatened and The Wye Valley is home to some of the world’s rarest whitebeam trees.

Cuckoos have declined in number across the South West by 69 per cent since 1994 and the polecat was driven out by persecution in the 19th century and is only slowly making its way back. Species that have already disappeared from the county include the red squirrel and natterjack toad, which was common in the early 20th century but now absent because of developments and agricultural intensification.

Also extinct in Gloucestershire is the large blue butterfly. Plans are being made to try to reintroduce it by sourcing from other countries.

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Filed under animals, biodiversity, conservation, endangered, environment, environmentalism, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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