Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline

GR: Worth noting that even in developed countries with slowing population growth, wildlife decline continues. In Britain, many people do small things to make their gardens more wildlife friendly. However, habitat loss and farming continue to cut carrying capacity for most wildlife species. Hedgehog and other species’ declines are accelerating, suggesting that many wildlife populations are no longer self-sustaining and are falling toward extinction. The Guardian story below includes ideas and links for steps to take to support wildlife. Unfortunately, it does not mention the big step, human population control. Without drastic efforts to cut our needs and begin returning the land and seas to their natural state, most of Earth’s wildlife species will disappear (more on human population impact).

Britain’s hedgehog population has dropped from an estimated 30 million in the 1950s to fewer than one million today. Photograph: Rebecca Cole/Alamy

“The plight of the hedgehog in Britain appears to be worsening, with a new survey revealing a further decline in garden sightings.

“The spiky creature was once a common sight, with the population estimated at 30 million in the 1950s. But that has plummeted to fewer than one million today, with a third of this loss thought to have taken place in the past decade.

“The latest survey, conducted with more than 2,600 people by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, found that 51% of people did not see a hedgehog at all in 2016, up from 48% in 2015. Just 12% saw a hedgehog regularly.

“The poll’s result is in line with an in-depth analysis in 2015 by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species which found urban populations of hedgehogs had fallen by up to a third since 2000 and rural populations had declined by at least a half. Results from a citizen science survey run by the RSPB in June 2016 also revealed a falling number of sightings.

“The decline is not entirely understood but the main factors are thought to be the loss of their habitat in Britain’s towns and countryside – where farming has intensified – as well as road deaths. The fragmentation of habitat is also a problem as hedgehogs roam up to a mile every night to look for food and mates. A possible rise in badger numbers, which can eat hedgehogs, has also been suggested as a possible cause.” –Damian Carrington (More: Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline | Environment | The Guardian.)

The Other Wolverine Who Rivaled X-Men for Fame – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

Wolverine. By Robert Carleton.

GR:  The pointless killing of this special individual from a rare species indicates just how total is our threat to nature.

M56 never made it to the silver screen, but he fascinated millions, trekking hundreds of miles and bringing much-needed attention to the plight of wolverines.

Source: The Other Wolverine Who Rivaled X-Men for Fame – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

“His movements were first recorded in Wyoming in 2008. He took off in 2009, heading south for hundreds of miles. He traveled across inhospitable lands looking for a place he might fit in and finally settled in Colorado. He wandered around Colorado for years, then headed north once again, possibly up to Montana. He trekked east across flat lands and found himself in North Dakota.

“This is no tale of a wandering, fugitive human, following some wanderlust or trying to find a job. This is M56. He’s a wolverine, the largest (and arguably the toughest) member of the weasel family. These fearless scavengers are incredible — they can drive grizzly bears and wolves away from carcasses, and have been documented climbing 5,000 vertical feet in the middle of winter in less than two hours. M56 was an ambassador for his species, captivating the entire state of Colorado with hope of a reestablished wolverine population, and inspiring all who learned of his immense travels and ability to traverse unlikely habitat. Sadly, wolverine M56’s remarkable life and unbelievable journey ended a few weeks ago near Alexander, North Dakota, where he was killed by a ranch hand who didn’t recognize what M56 was and thought he could threaten livestock.”

What does the Paris agreement mean for the world’s other 8 million species?

“The word “biodiversity” is employed once in the Paris agreement’s 32 pages. “Forests” appears a few times, but “oceans”, like biodiversity, scores just a single appearance. There is no mention of extinction. Wildlife, coral reefs, birds, frogs, orchids, polar bears and pikas never show up anywhere in the document.

“This is hardly surprising: the landmark agreement in Paris – the boldest yet to tackle climate change (which is saying something, but not nearly enough) – was contrived by one species for the benefit of one species. It was never meant to directly address the undeniable impacts of global warming on the world’s eight million or so other species – most of them still unnamed. But many experts say this doesn’t mean biodiversity won’t benefit from the agreement – especially if the 196 participants actually follow through on their pledges and up their ambition quickly.”  From: www.theguardian.com

GR:  Noncommercial wildlife, wildlife habitat, and soils are suffering from neglect and outright exploitation while under the care of our farmers, ranchers, governments, and land-use agencies.  It’s sad that nature has no way to protect itself from an egocentric species like ours.