The world’s wildlife needs our help more than ever right now.
Of course, we can’t all head off round the world battling climate change and rescuing endangered species. But we can all do something. You’d be amazed how much of a difference even the smallest actions can make. Here are a few great ways to help your local wildlife.
Encourage wild habitat
Whether this means letting parts of your lawn grow wild or encouraging your local council to set aside wild spaces in grass verges, providing wild habitat is one of the most important things you can do to help your local wildlife. Habitat destruction is possibly the biggest threat facing British wildlife. Hundreds of species thrive in the long grasses, or feast on the ‘weeds’ like dandelions which grow in fallow areas. What’s more, habitat preservation is a great excuse to avoid the mowing!
Leave out food
Bird feeders are great inventions. Not only do they keep our feathered friends fat and healthy, they also attract birds to your garden. Great for bird watchers!
Ditch the car
OK, it’s not as easy as all that to get along in the modern world without a car. However, road traffic is responsible for a huge decline in British wildlife. Roads cut across essential migration routes, so thousands of migrating animals end up as roadkill every year. In addition, traffic noise and light pollution from headlights are disorienting and damaging for nocturnal animals like bats, which have sensitive eyes and rely on their hearing to hunt. If you can walk or get the bus, your local animals will thank you for it.
This one’s especially relevant if we have a heatwave. Wildlife can’t turn on a tap for a drink. So they’ll be very appreciative if you leave out a dish of water somewhere safe. You’ll probably see songbirds giving themselves a bath if you’re quiet and watch carefully – always a happy sight!
Curtail your cat
Cats love to hunt. That’s not their fault, it’s just their nature. However, domestic cats are a bit of a scourge on the songbird population. If you don’t want to confine your cat to the indoors, try putting a bell on your cat’s collar. You can also buy special scrunchie-collars which are highly visible to birds. Bells and scrunchies will prevent your cat from ambushing or sneaking up on any unsuspecting songbirds.
Don’t poison your garden
Slug pellets and weedkiller may be easy ways to keep your garden looking great, but they’re awful for wildlife. Birds and hedgehogs eat poisoned slugs, and then get sick themselves. Weedkiller not only tidies up your garden, but also kills off food sources which insects rely upon. If you can find organic ways of maintaining a tidy garden (or learn to love the ragged edges!), you’ll be doing the wildlife a huge favour.
Picking up a wildlife book, talking to local experts, or even taking a class will give you a better idea of the kinds of creatures you’re sharing your neighbourhood with. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to help them if the opportunity arises.